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One draught above heat makes him a fool; the second mads him; and a third drowns him.

      — Twelfth Night, Act I Scene 5

Cymbeline, King of Britain

(complete text)

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Act I

1. Britain. The garden of Cymbeline’s palace.

2. The same. A public place.

3. A room in Cymbeline’s palace.

4. Rome. Philario’s house.

5. Britain. A room in Cymbeline’s palace.

6. The same. Another room in the palace.

Act II

1. Britain. Before Cymbeline’s palace.

2. Imogen’s bedchamber in Cymbeline’s palace:

3. An ante-chamber adjoining Imogen’s apartments.

4. Rome. Philario’s house.

5. Another room in Philario’s house.

Act III

1. Britain. A hall in Cymbeline’s palace.

2. Another room in the palace.

3. Wales: a mountainous country with a cave.

4. Country near Milford-Haven.

5. A room in Cymbeline’s palace.

6. Wales. Before the cave of Belarius.

7. Rome. A public place.

Act IV

1. Wales: near the cave of Belarius.

2. Before the cave of Belarius.

3. A room in Cymbeline’s palace.

4. Wales: before the cave of Belarius.

Act V

1. Britain. The Roman camp.

2. Field of battle between the British and Roman camps.

3. Another part of the field.

4. A British prison.

5. Cymbeline’s tent.

---
       

Act I, Scene 1

Britain. The garden of Cymbeline’s palace.

      next scene .
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[Enter two Gentlemen]

  • First Gentleman. You do not meet a man but frowns: our bloods
    No more obey the heavens than our courtiers
    Still seem as does the king.
  • First Gentleman. His daughter, and the heir of's kingdom, whom
    He purposed to his wife's sole son—a widow
    That late he married—hath referr'd herself
    Unto a poor but worthy gentleman: she's wedded;
    Her husband banish'd; she imprison'd: all 10
    Is outward sorrow; though I think the king
    Be touch'd at very heart.
  • First Gentleman. He that hath lost her too; so is the queen,
    That most desired the match; but not a courtier, 15
    Although they wear their faces to the bent
    Of the king's look's, hath a heart that is not
    Glad at the thing they scowl at.
  • First Gentleman. He that hath miss'd the princess is a thing 20
    Too bad for bad report: and he that hath her—
    I mean, that married her, alack, good man!
    And therefore banish'd—is a creature such
    As, to seek through the regions of the earth
    For one his like, there would be something failing 25
    In him that should compare. I do not think
    So fair an outward and such stuff within
    Endows a man but he.
  • First Gentleman. I do extend him, sir, within himself, 30
    Crush him together rather than unfold
    His measure duly.
  • First Gentleman. I cannot delve him to the root: his father
    Was call'd Sicilius, who did join his honour 35
    Against the Romans with Cassibelan,
    But had his titles by Tenantius whom
    He served with glory and admired success,
    So gain'd the sur-addition Leonatus;
    And had, besides this gentleman in question, 40
    Two other sons, who in the wars o' the time
    Died with their swords in hand; for which
    their father,
    Then old and fond of issue, took such sorrow
    That he quit being, and his gentle lady, 45
    Big of this gentleman our theme, deceased
    As he was born. The king he takes the babe
    To his protection, calls him Posthumus Leonatus,
    Breeds him and makes him of his bed-chamber,
    Puts to him all the learnings that his time 50
    Could make him the receiver of; which he took,
    As we do air, fast as 'twas minister'd,
    And in's spring became a harvest, lived in court—
    Which rare it is to do—most praised, most loved,
    A sample to the youngest, to the more mature 55
    A glass that feated them, and to the graver
    A child that guided dotards; to his mistress,
    For whom he now is banish'd, her own price
    Proclaims how she esteem'd him and his virtue;
    By her election may be truly read 60
    What kind of man he is.
  • Second Gentleman. I honour him
    Even out of your report. But, pray you, tell me,
    Is she sole child to the king?
  • First Gentleman. His only child. 65
    He had two sons: if this be worth your hearing,
    Mark it: the eldest of them at three years old,
    I' the swathing-clothes the other, from their nursery
    Were stol'n, and to this hour no guess in knowledge
    Which way they went. 70
  • Second Gentleman. That a king's children should be so convey'd,
    So slackly guarded, and the search so slow,
    That could not trace them! 75
  • First Gentleman. Howsoe'er 'tis strange,
    Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at,
    Yet is it true, sir.
  • First Gentleman. We must forbear: here comes the gentleman, 80
    The queen, and princess.

[Exeunt]

[Enter the QUEEN, POSTHUMUS LEONATUS, and IMOGEN]

  • Queen. No, be assured you shall not find me, daughter,
    After the slander of most stepmothers, 85
    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 90
    The fire of rage is in him, and 'twere good
    You lean'd unto his sentence with what patience
    Your wisdom may inform you.
  • Queen. You know the peril.
    I'll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying
    The pangs of barr'd affections, though the king
    Hath charged you should not speak together.

[Exit]

  • 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 105
    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. 110
  • 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: 115
    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. 120

[Re-enter QUEEN]

  • Queen. Be brief, I pray you:
    If the king come, I shall incur I know not
    How much of his displeasure.
    [Aside] 125
    Yet I'll move him
    To walk this way: I never do him wrong,
    But he does buy my injuries, to be friends;
    Pays dear for my offences.

[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!
  • Imogen. Nay, stay a little:
    Were you but riding forth to air yourself, 135
    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? 140
    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 145
    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 150
    Upon this fairest prisoner.

[Putting a bracelet upon her arm]

  • Imogen. O the gods!
    When shall we see again?

[Enter CYMBELINE and Lords]

  • 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. 160
  • Posthumus Leonatus. The gods protect you!
    And bless the good remainders of the court! I am gone.

[Exit]

  • Imogen. There cannot be a pinch in death
    More sharp than this is. 165
  • Cymbeline. O disloyal thing,
    That shouldst repair my youth, thou heap'st
    A year's age on me.
  • Imogen. I beseech you, sir,
    Harm not yourself with your vexation 170
    I am senseless of your wrath; a touch more rare
    Subdues all pangs, all fears.
  • Imogen. Past hope, and in despair; that way, past grace.
  • Cymbeline. That mightst have had the sole son of my queen! 175
  • Imogen. O blest, that I might not! I chose an eagle,
    And did avoid a puttock.
  • Cymbeline. Thou took'st a beggar; wouldst have made my throne
    A seat for baseness.
  • Imogen. No; I rather added 180
    A lustre to it.
  • Imogen. Sir,
    It is your fault that I have loved Posthumus:
    You bred him as my playfellow, and he is 185
    A man worth any woman, overbuys me
    Almost the sum he pays.
  • Imogen. Almost, sir: heaven restore me! Would I were
    A neat-herd's daughter, and my Leonatus 190
    Our neighbour shepherd's son!
  • Cymbeline. Thou foolish thing!
    [Re-enter QUEEN]
    They were again together: you have done
    Not after our command. Away with her, 195
    And pen her up.
  • Queen. Beseech your patience. Peace,
    Dear lady daughter, peace! Sweet sovereign,
    Leave us to ourselves; and make yourself some comfort
    Out of your best advice. 200
  • Cymbeline. Nay, let her languish
    A drop of blood a day; and, being aged,
    Die of this folly!

[Exeunt CYMBELINE and Lords]

  • Queen. Fie! you must give way. 205
    [Enter PISANIO]
    Here is your servant. How now, sir! What news?
  • Pisanio. My lord your son drew on my master.
  • Queen. Ha!
    No harm, I trust, is done? 210
  • Pisanio. There might have been,
    But that my master rather play'd than fought
    And had no help of anger: they were parted
    By gentlemen at hand.
  • Queen. I am very glad on't. 215
  • Imogen. Your son's my father's friend; he takes his part.
    To draw upon an exile! O brave sir!
    I would they were in Afric both together;
    Myself by with a needle, that I might prick
    The goer-back. Why came you from your master? 220
  • Pisanio. On his command: he would not suffer me
    To bring him to the haven; left these notes
    Of what commands I should be subject to,
    When 't pleased you to employ me.
  • Queen. This hath been 225
    Your faithful servant: I dare lay mine honour
    He will remain so.
  • Pisanio. I humbly thank your highness.
  • Queen. Pray, walk awhile.
  • Imogen. About some half-hour hence, 230
    I pray you, speak with me: you shall at least
    Go see my lord aboard: for this time leave me.

[Exeunt]

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. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 2

The same. A public place.

      next scene .
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[Enter CLOTEN and two Lords]

  • First Lord. Sir, I would advise you to shift a shirt; the 235
    violence of action hath made you reek as a
    sacrifice: where air comes out, air comes in:
    there's none abroad so wholesome as that you vent.
  • Cloten. If my shirt were bloody, then to shift it. Have I hurt him?
  • Second Lord. [Aside] No, 'faith; not so much as his patience. 240
  • First Lord. Hurt him! his body's a passable carcass, if he be
    not hurt: it is a thoroughfare for steel, if it be not hurt.
  • Second Lord. [Aside] His steel was in debt; it went o' the
    backside the town.
  • Cloten. The villain would not stand me. 245
  • Second Lord. [Aside] No; but he fled forward still, toward your face.
  • First Lord. Stand you! You have land enough of your own: but
    he added to your having; gave you some ground.
  • Second Lord. [Aside] As many inches as you have oceans. Puppies!
  • Cloten. I would they had not come between us. 250
  • Second Lord. [Aside] So would I, till you had measured how long
    a fool you were upon the ground.
  • Cloten. And that she should love this fellow and refuse me!
  • Second Lord. [Aside] If it be a sin to make a true election, she
    is damned. 255
  • First Lord. Sir, as I told you always, her beauty and her brain
    go not together: she's a good sign, but I have seen
    small reflection of her wit.
  • Second Lord. [Aside] She shines not upon fools, lest the
    reflection should hurt her. 260
  • Cloten. Come, I'll to my chamber. Would there had been some
    hurt done!
  • Second Lord. [Aside] I wish not so; unless it had been the fall
    of an ass, which is no great hurt.
  • Cloten. You'll go with us? 265
  • Cloten. Nay, come, let's go together.

[Exeunt]

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. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 3

A room in Cymbeline’s palace.

      next scene .
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[Enter IMOGEN and PISANIO]

  • Imogen. I would thou grew'st unto the shores o' the haven,
    And question'dst every sail: if he should write
    And not have it, 'twere a paper lost,
    As offer'd mercy is. What was the last
    That he spake to thee? 275
  • Pisanio. It was his queen, his queen!
  • Imogen. Then waved his handkerchief?
  • Imogen. Senseless Linen! happier therein than I!
    And that was all? 280
  • Pisanio. No, madam; for so long
    As he could make me with this eye or ear
    Distinguish him from others, he did keep
    The deck, with glove, or hat, or handkerchief,
    Still waving, as the fits and stirs of 's mind 285
    Could best express how slow his soul sail'd on,
    How swift his ship.
  • Imogen. Thou shouldst have made him
    As little as a crow, or less, ere left
    To after-eye him. 290
  • Imogen. I would have broke mine eye-strings; crack'd them, but
    To look upon him, till the diminution
    Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle,
    Nay, follow'd him, till he had melted from 295
    The smallness of a gnat to air, and then
    Have turn'd mine eye and wept. But, good Pisanio,
    When shall we hear from him?
  • Pisanio. Be assured, madam,
    With his next vantage. 300
  • Imogen. I did not take my leave of him, but had
    Most pretty things to say: ere I could tell him
    How I would think on him at certain hours
    Such thoughts and such, or I could make him swear
    The shes of Italy should not betray 305
    Mine interest and his honour, or have charged him,
    At the sixth hour of morn, at noon, at midnight,
    To encounter me with orisons, for then
    I am in heaven for him; or ere I could
    Give him that parting kiss which I had set 310
    Betwixt two charming words, comes in my father
    And like the tyrannous breathing of the north
    Shakes all our buds from growing.

[Enter a Lady]

  • Lady. The queen, madam, 315
    Desires your highness' company.
  • Imogen. Those things I bid you do, get them dispatch'd.
    I will attend the queen.

[Exeunt]

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. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 4

Rome. Philario’s house.

      next scene .
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[Enter PHILARIO, IACHIMO, a Frenchman, a] [p]Dutchman, and a Spaniard]

  • Iachimo. Believe it, sir, I have seen him in Britain: he was
    then of a crescent note, expected to prove so worthy
    as since he hath been allowed the name of; but I 325
    could then have looked on him without the help of
    admiration, though the catalogue of his endowments
    had been tabled by his side and I to peruse him by items.
  • Philario. You speak of him when he was less furnished than now
    he is with that which makes him both without and within. 330
  • Frenchman. I have seen him in France: we had very many there
    could behold the sun with as firm eyes as he.
  • Iachimo. This matter of marrying his king's daughter, wherein
    he must be weighed rather by her value than his own,
    words him, I doubt not, a great deal from the matter. 335
  • Iachimo. Ay, and the approbation of those that weep this
    lamentable divorce under her colours are wonderfully
    to extend him; be it but to fortify her judgment,
    which else an easy battery might lay flat, for 340
    taking a beggar without less quality. But how comes
    it he is to sojourn with you? How creeps
    acquaintance?
  • Philario. His father and I were soldiers together; to whom I
    have been often bound for no less than my life. 345
    Here comes the Briton: let him be so entertained
    amongst you as suits, with gentlemen of your
    knowing, to a stranger of his quality.
    [Enter POSTHUMUS LEONATUS]
    I beseech you all, be better known to this 350
    gentleman; whom I commend to you as a noble friend
    of mine: how worthy he is I will leave to appear
    hereafter, rather than story him in his own hearing.
  • Frenchman. Sir, we have known together in Orleans.
  • Posthumus Leonatus. Since when I have been debtor to you for courtesies, 355
    which I will be ever to pay and yet pay still.
  • 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 360
    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 365
    it is mended—my quarrel was not altogether slight.
  • Frenchman. 'Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrement of swords,
    and by such two that would by all likelihood have
    confounded one the other, or have fallen both.
  • Iachimo. Can we, with manners, ask what was the difference? 370
  • Frenchman. Safely, I think: 'twas a contention in public,
    which may, without contradiction, suffer the report.
    It was much like an argument that fell out last
    night, where each of us fell in praise of our
    country mistresses; this gentleman at that time 375
    vouching—and upon warrant of bloody
    affirmation—his to be more fair, virtuous, wise,
    chaste, constant-qualified and less attemptable
    than any the rarest of our ladies in France.
  • Iachimo. That lady is not now living, or this gentleman's 380
    opinion by this worn out.
  • 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 385
    adorer, not her friend.
  • 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 390
    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.
  • Iachimo. What do you esteem it at? 395
  • 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 400
    for the gift: the other is not a thing for sale,
    and only the gift of the gods.
  • Iachimo. Which the gods have given you?
  • Iachimo. You may wear her in title yours: but, you know, 405
    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. 410
  • 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. 415
  • 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.
  • Iachimo. With five times so much conversation, I should get
    ground of your fair mistress, make her go back, even 420
    to the yielding, had I admittance and opportunity to friend.
  • 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 425
    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 430
    worthy of by your attempt.
  • Posthumus Leonatus. A repulse: though your attempt, as you call it,
    deserve more; a punishment too.
  • Philario. Gentlemen, enough of this: it came in too suddenly; 435
    let it die as it was born, and, I pray you, be
    better acquainted.
  • Iachimo. Would I had put my estate and my neighbour's on the
    approbation of what I have spoke!
  • 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 445
    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.
  • Iachimo. You are afraid, and therein the wiser. If you buy
    ladies' flesh at a million a dram, you cannot 450
    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.
  • Iachimo. I am the master of my speeches, and would undergo 455
    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. 460
  • 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, 465
    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 470
    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 475
    otherwise, for your ill opinion and the assault you
    have made to her chastity you shall answer me with
    your sword.
  • Iachimo. Your hand; a covenant: we will have these things set
    down by lawful counsel, and straight away for 480
    Britain, lest the bargain should catch cold and
    starve: I will fetch my gold and have our two
    wagers recorded.

[Exeunt POSTHUMUS LEONATUS and IACHIMO]

  • Philario. Signior Iachimo will not from it.
    Pray, let us follow 'em.

[Exeunt]

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. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 5

Britain. A room in Cymbeline’s palace.

      next scene .
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[Enter QUEEN, Ladies, and CORNELIUS]

  • Queen. Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those flowers;
    Make haste: who has the note of them?
  • Queen. Dispatch.
    [Exeunt Ladies] 495
    Now, master doctor, have you brought those drugs?
  • Cornelius. Pleaseth your highness, ay: here they are, madam:
    [Presenting a small box]
    But I beseech your grace, without offence,—
    My conscience bids me ask—wherefore you have 500
    Commanded of me those most poisonous compounds,
    Which are the movers of a languishing death;
    But though slow, deadly?
  • Queen. I wonder, doctor,
    Thou ask'st me such a question. Have I not been 505
    Thy pupil long? Hast thou not learn'd me how
    To make perfumes? distil? preserve? yea, so
    That our great king himself doth woo me oft
    For my confections? Having thus far proceeded,—
    Unless thou think'st me devilish—is't not meet 510
    That I did amplify my judgment in
    Other conclusions? I will try the forces
    Of these thy compounds on such creatures as
    We count not worth the hanging, but none human,
    To try the vigour of them and apply 515
    Allayments to their act, and by them gather
    Their several virtues and effects.
  • Cornelius. Your highness
    Shall from this practise but make hard your heart:
    Besides, the seeing these effects will be 520
    Both noisome and infectious.
  • Queen. O, content thee.
    [Enter PISANIO]
    [Aside]
    Here comes a flattering rascal; upon him 525
    Will I first work: he's for his master,
    An enemy to my son. How now, Pisanio!
    Doctor, your service for this time is ended;
    Take your own way.
  • Cornelius. [Aside] I do suspect you, madam; 530
    But you shall do no harm.
  • Queen. [To PISANIO] Hark thee, a word.
  • Cornelius. [Aside] I do not like her. She doth think she has
    Strange lingering poisons: I do know her spirit,
    And will not trust one of her malice with 535
    A drug of such damn'd nature. Those she has
    Will stupefy and dull the sense awhile;
    Which first, perchance, she'll prove on
    cats and dogs,
    Then afterward up higher: but there is 540
    No danger in what show of death it makes,
    More than the locking-up the spirits a time,
    To be more fresh, reviving. She is fool'd
    With a most false effect; and I the truer,
    So to be false with her. 545
  • Queen. No further service, doctor,
    Until I send for thee.

[Exit]

  • Queen. Weeps she still, say'st thou? Dost thou think in time 550
    She will not quench and let instructions enter
    Where folly now possesses? Do thou work:
    When thou shalt bring me word she loves my son,
    I'll tell thee on the instant thou art then
    As great as is thy master, greater, for 555
    His fortunes all lie speechless and his name
    Is at last gasp: return he cannot, nor
    Continue where he is: to shift his being
    Is to exchange one misery with another,
    And every day that comes comes to decay 560
    A day's work in him. What shalt thou expect,
    To be depender on a thing that leans,
    Who cannot be new built, nor has no friends,
    So much as but to prop him?
    [The QUEEN drops the box: PISANIO takes it up] 565
    Thou takest up
    Thou know'st not what; but take it for thy labour:
    It is a thing I made, which hath the king
    Five times redeem'd from death: I do not know
    What is more cordial. Nay, I prethee, take it; 570
    It is an earnest of a further good
    That I mean to thee. Tell thy mistress how
    The case stands with her; do't as from thyself.
    Think what a chance thou changest on, but think
    Thou hast thy mistress still, to boot, my son, 575
    Who shall take notice of thee: I'll move the king
    To any shape of thy preferment such
    As thou'lt desire; and then myself, I chiefly,
    That set thee on to this desert, am bound
    To load thy merit richly. Call my women: 580
    Think on my words.
    [Exit PISANIO]
    A sly and constant knave,
    Not to be shaked; the agent for his master
    And the remembrancer of her to hold 585
    The hand-fast to her lord. I have given him that
    Which, if he take, shall quite unpeople her
    Of liegers for her sweet, and which she after,
    Except she bend her humour, shall be assured
    To taste of too. 590
    [Re-enter PISANIO and Ladies]
    So, so: well done, well done:
    The violets, cowslips, and the primroses,
    Bear to my closet. Fare thee well, Pisanio;
    Think on my words. 595

[Exeunt QUEEN and Ladies]

  • Pisanio. And shall do:
    But when to my good lord I prove untrue,
    I'll choke myself: there's all I'll do for you.

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 6

The same. Another room in the palace.

      next scene .
---

[Enter IMOGEN]

  • Imogen. A father cruel, and a step-dame false;
    A foolish suitor to a wedded lady,
    That hath her husband banish'd;—O, that husband!
    My supreme crown of grief! and those repeated 605
    Vexations of it! Had I been thief-stol'n,
    As my two brothers, happy! but most miserable
    Is the desire that's glorious: blest be those,
    How mean soe'er, that have their honest wills,
    Which seasons comfort. Who may this be? Fie! 610

[Enter PISANIO and IACHIMO]

  • Pisanio. Madam, a noble gentleman of Rome,
    Comes from my lord with letters.
  • Iachimo. Change you, madam?
    The worthy Leonatus is in safety 615
    And greets your highness dearly.

[Presents a letter]

  • Imogen. Thanks, good sir:
    You're kindly welcome.
  • Iachimo. [Aside] All of her that is out of door most rich! 620
    If she be furnish'd with a mind so rare,
    She is alone the Arabian bird, and I
    Have lost the wager. Boldness be my friend!
    Arm me, audacity, from head to foot!
    Or, like the Parthian, I shall flying fight; 625
    Rather directly fly.
  • Imogen. [Reads] 'He is one of the noblest note, to whose
    kindnesses I am most infinitely tied. Reflect upon
    him accordingly, as you value your trust—
    LEONATUS.' 630
    So far I read aloud:
    But even the very middle of my heart
    Is warm'd by the rest, and takes it thankfully.
    You are as welcome, worthy sir, as I
    Have words to bid you, and shall find it so 635
    In all that I can do.
  • Iachimo. Thanks, fairest lady.
    What, are men mad? Hath nature given them eyes
    To see this vaulted arch, and the rich crop
    Of sea and land, which can distinguish 'twixt 640
    The fiery orbs above and the twinn'd stones
    Upon the number'd beach? and can we not
    Partition make with spectacles so precious
    'Twixt fair and foul?
  • Imogen. What makes your admiration? 645
  • Iachimo. It cannot be i' the eye, for apes and monkeys
    'Twixt two such shes would chatter this way and
    Contemn with mows the other; nor i' the judgment,
    For idiots in this case of favour would
    Be wisely definite; nor i' the appetite; 650
    Sluttery to such neat excellence opposed
    Should make desire vomit emptiness,
    Not so allured to feed.
  • Imogen. What is the matter, trow?
  • Iachimo. The cloyed will, 655
    That satiate yet unsatisfied desire, that tub
    Both fill'd and running, ravening first the lamb
    Longs after for the garbage.
  • Imogen. What, dear sir,
    Thus raps you? Are you well? 660
  • Iachimo. Thanks, madam; well.
    [To PISANIO]
    Beseech you, sir, desire
    My man's abode where I did leave him: he
    Is strange and peevish. 665
  • Pisanio. I was going, sir,
    To give him welcome.

[Exit]

  • Imogen. Continues well my lord? His health, beseech you?
  • Imogen. Is he disposed to mirth? I hope he is.
  • Iachimo. Exceeding pleasant; none a stranger there
    So merry and so gamesome: he is call'd
    The Briton reveller.
  • Imogen. When he was here, 675
    He did incline to sadness, and oft-times
    Not knowing why.
  • Iachimo. I never saw him sad.
    There is a Frenchman his companion, one
    An eminent monsieur, that, it seems, much loves 680
    A Gallian girl at home; he furnaces
    The thick sighs from him, whiles the jolly Briton—
    Your lord, I mean—laughs from's free lungs, cries 'O,
    Can my sides hold, to think that man, who knows
    By history, report, or his own proof, 685
    What woman is, yea, what she cannot choose
    But must be, will his free hours languish for
    Assured bondage?'
  • Iachimo. Ay, madam, with his eyes in flood with laughter: 690
    It is a recreation to be by
    And hear him mock the Frenchman. But, heavens know,
    Some men are much to blame.
  • Iachimo. Not he: but yet heaven's bounty towards him might 695
    Be used more thankfully. In himself, 'tis much;
    In you, which I account his beyond all talents,
    Whilst I am bound to wonder, I am bound
    To pity too.
  • Imogen. What do you pity, sir? 700
  • Imogen. Am I one, sir?
    You look on me: what wreck discern you in me
    Deserves your pity?
  • Iachimo. Lamentable! What, 705
    To hide me from the radiant sun and solace
    I' the dungeon by a snuff?
  • Imogen. I pray you, sir,
    Deliver with more openness your answers
    To my demands. Why do you pity me? 710
  • Iachimo. That others do—
    I was about to say—enjoy your—But
    It is an office of the gods to venge it,
    Not mine to speak on 't.
  • Imogen. You do seem to know 715
    Something of me, or what concerns me: pray you,—
    Since doubling things go ill often hurts more
    Than to be sure they do; for certainties
    Either are past remedies, or, timely knowing,
    The remedy then born—discover to me 720
    What both you spur and stop.
  • Iachimo. Had I this cheek
    To bathe my lips upon; this hand, whose touch,
    Whose every touch, would force the feeler's soul
    To the oath of loyalty; this object, which 725
    Takes prisoner the wild motion of mine eye,
    Fixing it only here; should I, damn'd then,
    Slaver with lips as common as the stairs
    That mount the Capitol; join gripes with hands
    Made hard with hourly falsehood—falsehood, as 730
    With labour; then by-peeping in an eye
    Base and unlustrous as the smoky light
    That's fed with stinking tallow; it were fit
    That all the plagues of hell should at one time
    Encounter such revolt. 735
  • Imogen. My lord, I fear,
    Has forgot Britain.
  • Iachimo. And himself. Not I,
    Inclined to this intelligence, pronounce
    The beggary of his change; but 'tis your graces 740
    That from pay mutest conscience to my tongue
    Charms this report out.
  • Iachimo. O dearest soul! your cause doth strike my heart
    With pity, that doth make me sick. A lady 745
    So fair, and fasten'd to an empery,
    Would make the great'st king double,—to be partner'd
    With tomboys hired with that self-exhibition
    Which your own coffers yield! with diseased ventures
    That play with all infirmities for gold 750
    Which rottenness can lend nature! such boil'd stuff
    As well might poison poison! Be revenged;
    Or she that bore you was no queen, and you
    Recoil from your great stock.
  • Imogen. Revenged! 755
    How should I be revenged? If this be true,—
    As I have such a heart that both mine ears
    Must not in haste abuse—if it be true,
    How should I be revenged?
  • Iachimo. Should he make me 760
    Live, like Diana's priest, betwixt cold sheets,
    Whiles he is vaulting variable ramps,
    In your despite, upon your purse? Revenge it.
    I dedicate myself to your sweet pleasure,
    More noble than that runagate to your bed, 765
    And will continue fast to your affection,
    Still close as sure.
  • Iachimo. Let me my service tender on your lips.
  • Imogen. Away! I do condemn mine ears that have 770
    So long attended thee. If thou wert honourable,
    Thou wouldst have told this tale for virtue, not
    For such an end thou seek'st,—as base as strange.
    Thou wrong'st a gentleman, who is as far
    From thy report as thou from honour, and 775
    Solicit'st here a lady that disdains
    Thee and the devil alike. What ho, Pisanio!
    The king my father shall be made acquainted
    Of thy assault: if he shall think it fit,
    A saucy stranger in his court to mart 780
    As in a Romish stew and to expound
    His beastly mind to us, he hath a court
    He little cares for and a daughter who
    He not respects at all. What, ho, Pisanio!
  • Iachimo. O happy Leonatus! I may say 785
    The credit that thy lady hath of thee
    Deserves thy trust, and thy most perfect goodness
    Her assured credit. Blessed live you long!
    A lady to the worthiest sir that ever
    Country call'd his! and you his mistress, only 790
    For the most worthiest fit! Give me your pardon.
    I have spoke this, to know if your affiance
    Were deeply rooted; and shall make your lord,
    That which he is, new o'er: and he is one
    The truest manner'd; such a holy witch 795
    That he enchants societies into him;
    Half all men's hearts are his.
  • Iachimo. He sits 'mongst men like a descended god:
    He hath a kind of honour sets him off, 800
    More than a mortal seeming. Be not angry,
    Most mighty princess, that I have adventured
    To try your taking a false report; which hath
    Honour'd with confirmation your great judgment
    In the election of a sir so rare, 805
    Which you know cannot err: the love I bear him
    Made me to fan you thus, but the gods made you,
    Unlike all others, chaffless. Pray, your pardon.
  • Imogen. All's well, sir: take my power i' the court
    for yours. 810
  • Iachimo. My humble thanks. I had almost forgot
    To entreat your grace but in a small request,
    And yet of moment to, for it concerns
    Your lord; myself and other noble friends,
    Are partners in the business. 815
  • Iachimo. Some dozen Romans of us and your lord—
    The best feather of our wing—have mingled sums
    To buy a present for the emperor
    Which I, the factor for the rest, have done 820
    In France: 'tis plate of rare device, and jewels
    Of rich and exquisite form; their values great;
    And I am something curious, being strange,
    To have them in safe stowage: may it please you
    To take them in protection? 825
  • Imogen. Willingly;
    And pawn mine honour for their safety: since
    My lord hath interest in them, I will keep them
    In my bedchamber.
  • Iachimo. They are in a trunk, 830
    Attended by my men: I will make bold
    To send them to you, only for this night;
    I must aboard to-morrow.
  • Iachimo. Yes, I beseech; or I shall short my word 835
    By lengthening my return. From Gallia
    I cross'd the seas on purpose and on promise
    To see your grace.
  • Imogen. I thank you for your pains:
    But not away to-morrow! 840
  • Iachimo. O, I must, madam:
    Therefore I shall beseech you, if you please
    To greet your lord with writing, do't to-night:
    I have outstood my time; which is material
    To the tender of our present. 845
  • Imogen. I will write.
    Send your trunk to me; it shall safe be kept,
    And truly yielded you. You're very welcome.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 1

Britain. Before Cymbeline’s palace.

      next scene .
---

[Enter CLOTEN and two Lords]

  • Cloten. Was there ever man had such luck! when I kissed the
    jack, upon an up-cast to be hit away! I had a
    hundred pound on't: and then a whoreson jackanapes
    must take me up for swearing; as if I borrowed mine
    oaths of him and might not spend them at my pleasure. 855
  • First Lord. What got he by that? You have broke his pate with
    your bowl.
  • Second Lord. [Aside] If his wit had been like him that broke it,
    it would have run all out.
  • Cloten. When a gentleman is disposed to swear, it is not for 860
    any standers-by to curtail his oaths, ha?
  • Second Lord. No my lord;
    [Aside]
    nor crop the ears of them.
  • Cloten. Whoreson dog! I give him satisfaction? 865
    Would he had been one of my rank!
  • Cloten. I am not vexed more at any thing in the earth: a
    pox on't! I had rather not be so noble as I am;
    they dare not fight with me, because of the queen my 870
    mother: every Jack-slave hath his bellyful of
    fighting, and I must go up and down like a cock that
    nobody can match.
  • Second Lord. [Aside] You are cock and capon too; and you crow,
    cock, with your comb on. 875
  • Second Lord. It is not fit your lordship should undertake every
    companion that you give offence to.
  • Cloten. No, I know that: but it is fit I should commit
    offence to my inferiors. 880
  • First Lord. Did you hear of a stranger that's come to court to-night?
  • Cloten. A stranger, and I not know on't!
  • Second Lord. [Aside] He's a strange fellow himself, and knows it 885
    not.
  • First Lord. There's an Italian come; and, 'tis thought, one of
    Leonatus' friends.
  • Cloten. Leonatus! a banished rascal; and he's another,
    whatsoever he be. Who told you of this stranger? 890
  • Cloten. Is it fit I went to look upon him? is there no
    derogation in't?
  • Cloten. Not easily, I think. 895
  • Second Lord. [Aside] You are a fool granted; therefore your
    issues, being foolish, do not derogate.
  • Cloten. Come, I'll go see this Italian: what I have lost
    to-day at bowls I'll win to-night of him. Come, go.
  • Second Lord. I'll attend your lordship. 900
    [Exeunt CLOTEN and First Lord]
    That such a crafty devil as is his mother
    Should yield the world this ass! a woman that
    Bears all down with her brain; and this her son
    Cannot take two from twenty, for his heart, 905
    And leave eighteen. Alas, poor princess,
    Thou divine Imogen, what thou endurest,
    Betwixt a father by thy step-dame govern'd,
    A mother hourly coining plots, a wooer
    More hateful than the foul expulsion is 910
    Of thy dear husband, than that horrid act
    Of the divorce he'ld make! The heavens hold firm
    The walls of thy dear honour, keep unshaked
    That temple, thy fair mind, that thou mayst stand,
    To enjoy thy banish'd lord and this great land! 915

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 2

Imogen’s bedchamber in Cymbeline’s palace:

      next scene .
---

a trunk in one corner of it.

[IMOGEN in bed, reading; a Lady attending]

  • Imogen. Who's there? my woman Helen?
  • Lady. Please you, madam 920
  • Lady. Almost midnight, madam.
  • Imogen. I have read three hours then: mine eyes are weak:
    Fold down the leaf where I have left: to bed:
    Take not away the taper, leave it burning; 925
    And if thou canst awake by four o' the clock,
    I prithee, call me. Sleep hath seized me wholly
    [Exit Lady]
    To your protection I commend me, gods.
    From fairies and the tempters of the night 930
    Guard me, beseech ye.

[Sleeps. IACHIMO comes from the trunk]

  • Iachimo. The crickets sing, and man's o'er-labour'd sense
    Repairs itself by rest. Our Tarquin thus
    Did softly press the rushes, ere he waken'd 935
    The chastity he wounded. Cytherea,
    How bravely thou becomest thy bed, fresh lily,
    And whiter than the sheets! That I might touch!
    But kiss; one kiss! Rubies unparagon'd,
    How dearly they do't! 'Tis her breathing that 940
    Perfumes the chamber thus: the flame o' the taper
    Bows toward her, and would under-peep her lids,
    To see the enclosed lights, now canopied
    Under these windows, white and azure laced
    With blue of heaven's own tinct. But my design, 945
    To note the chamber: I will write all down:
    Such and such pictures; there the window; such
    The adornment of her bed; the arras; figures,
    Why, such and such; and the contents o' the story.
    Ah, but some natural notes about her body, 950
    Above ten thousand meaner moveables
    Would testify, to enrich mine inventory.
    O sleep, thou ape of death, lie dull upon her!
    And be her sense but as a monument,
    Thus in a chapel lying! Come off, come off: 955
    [Taking off 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 the madding of her lord. On her left breast 960
    A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
    I' the bottom of a cowslip: here's a voucher,
    Stronger than ever law could make: this secret
    Will force him think I have pick'd the lock and ta'en
    The treasure of her honour. No more. To what end? 965
    Why should I write this down, that's riveted,
    Screw'd to my memory? She hath been reading late
    The tale of Tereus; here the leaf's turn'd down
    Where Philomel gave up. I have enough:
    To the trunk again, and shut the spring of it. 970
    Swift, 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! 975

[Goes into the trunk. The scene closes]

---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 3

An ante-chamber adjoining Imogen’s apartments.

      next scene .
---

[Enter CLOTEN and Lords]

  • First Lord. Your lordship is the most patient man in loss, the
    most coldest that ever turned up ace.
  • Cloten. It would make any man cold to lose. 980
  • First Lord. But not every man patient after the noble temper of
    your lordship. You are most hot and furious when you win.
  • Cloten. Winning will put any man into courage. If I could
    get this foolish Imogen, I should have gold enough.
    It's almost morning, is't not? 985
  • Cloten. I would this music would come: I am advised to give
    her music o' mornings; they say it will penetrate.
    [Enter Musicians]
    Come on; tune: if you can penetrate her with your 990
    fingering, so; we'll try with tongue too: if none
    will do, let her remain; but I'll never give o'er.
    First, a very excellent good-conceited thing;
    after, a wonderful sweet air, with admirable rich
    words to it: and then let her consider. 995
    [SONG]
    Hark, hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
    And Phoebus 'gins arise,
    His steeds to water at those springs
    On chaliced flowers that lies; 1000
    And winking Mary-buds begin
    To ope their golden eyes:
    With every thing that pretty is,
    My lady sweet, arise:
    Arise, arise. 1005
  • Cloten. So, get you gone. If this penetrate, I will
    consider your music the better: if it do not, it is
    a vice in her ears, which horse-hairs and
    calves'-guts, nor the voice of unpaved eunuch to
    boot, can never amend. 1010

[Exeunt Musicians]

  • Cloten. I am glad I was up so late; for that's the reason I
    was up so early: he cannot choose but take this
    service I have done fatherly. 1015
    [Enter CYMBELINE and QUEEN]
    Good morrow to your majesty and to my gracious mother.
  • Cymbeline. Attend you here the door of our stern daughter?
    Will she not forth?
  • Cloten. I have assailed her with music, but she vouchsafes no notice. 1020
  • Cymbeline. The exile of her minion is too new;
    She hath not yet forgot him: some more time
    Must wear the print of his remembrance out,
    And then she's yours.
  • Queen. You are most bound to the king, 1025
    Who lets go by no vantages that may
    Prefer you to his daughter. Frame yourself
    To orderly soliciting, and be friended
    With aptness of the season; make denials
    Increase your services; so seem as if 1030
    You were inspired to do those duties which
    You tender to her; that you in all obey her,
    Save when command to your dismission tends,
    And therein you are senseless.
  • Cloten. Senseless! not so. 1035

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. So like you, sir, ambassadors from Rome;
    The one is Caius Lucius.
  • Cymbeline. A worthy fellow,
    Albeit he comes on angry purpose now; 1040
    But that's no fault of his: we must receive him
    According to the honour of his sender;
    And towards himself, his goodness forespent on us,
    We must extend our notice. Our dear son,
    When you have given good morning to your mistress, 1045
    Attend the queen and us; we shall have need
    To employ you towards this Roman. Come, our queen.

[Exeunt all but CLOTEN]

  • Cloten. If she be up, I'll speak with her; if not,
    Let her lie still and dream. 1050
    [Knocks]
    By your leave, ho!
    I Know her women are about her: what
    If I do line one of their hands? 'Tis gold
    Which buys admittance; oft it doth; yea, and makes 1055
    Diana's rangers false themselves, yield up
    Their deer to the stand o' the stealer; and 'tis gold
    Which makes the true man kill'd and saves the thief;
    Nay, sometime hangs both thief and true man: what
    Can it not do and undo? I will make 1060
    One of her women lawyer to me, for
    I yet not understand the case myself.
    [Knocks]
    By your leave.

[Enter a Lady]

  • Lady. Who's there that knocks?
  • Cloten. Yes, and a gentlewoman's son.
  • Lady. That's more 1070
    Than some, whose tailors are as dear as yours,
    Can justly boast of. What's your lordship's pleasure?
  • Cloten. Your lady's person: is she ready?
  • Lady. Ay,
    To keep her chamber. 1075
  • Cloten. There is gold for you;
    Sell me your good report.
  • Lady. How! my good name? or to report of you
    What I shall think is good?—The princess!

[Enter IMOGEN]

  • Cloten. Good morrow, fairest: sister, your sweet hand.

[Exit Lady]

  • Imogen. Good morrow, sir. You lay out too much pains
    For purchasing but trouble; the thanks I give
    Is telling you that I am poor of thanks 1085
    And scarce can spare them.
  • Cloten. Still, I swear I love you.
  • Imogen. If you but said so, 'twere as deep with me:
    If you swear still, your recompense is still
    That I regard it not. 1090
  • Imogen. But that you shall not say I yield being silent,
    I would not speak. I pray you, spare me: 'faith,
    I shall unfold equal discourtesy
    To your best kindness: one of your great knowing 1095
    Should learn, being taught, forbearance.
  • Cloten. To leave you in your madness, 'twere my sin:
    I will not.
  • Imogen. Fools are not mad folks.
  • Cloten. Do you call me fool? 1100
  • Imogen. As I am mad, I do:
    If you'll be patient, I'll no more be mad;
    That cures us both. I am much sorry, sir,
    You put me to forget a lady's manners,
    By being so verbal: and learn now, for all, 1105
    That I, which know my heart, do here pronounce,
    By the very truth of it, I care not for you,
    And am so near the lack of charity—
    To accuse myself—I hate you; which I had rather
    You felt than make't my boast. 1110
  • Cloten. You sin against
    Obedience, which you owe your father. For
    The contract you pretend with that base wretch,
    One bred of alms and foster'd with cold dishes,
    With scraps o' the court, it is no contract, none: 1115
    And though it be allow'd in meaner parties—
    Yet who than he more mean?—to knit their souls,
    On whom there is no more dependency
    But brats and beggary, in self-figured knot;
    Yet you are curb'd from that enlargement by 1120
    The consequence o' the crown, and must not soil
    The precious note of it with a base slave.
    A hilding for a livery, a squire's cloth,
    A pantler, not so eminent.
  • Imogen. Profane fellow 1125
    Wert thou the son of Jupiter and no more
    But what thou art besides, thou wert too base
    To be his groom: thou wert dignified enough,
    Even to the point of envy, if 'twere made
    Comparative for your virtues, to be styled 1130
    The under-hangman of his kingdom, and hated
    For being preferred so well.
  • Cloten. The south-fog rot him!
  • Imogen. He never can meet more mischance than come
    To be but named of thee. His meanest garment, 1135
    That ever hath but clipp'd his body, is dearer
    In my respect than all the hairs above thee,
    Were they all made such men. How now, Pisanio!

[Enter PISANIO]

  • Cloten. 'His garment!' Now the devil— 1140
  • Imogen. To Dorothy my woman hie thee presently—
  • Imogen. I am sprited with a fool.
    Frighted, and anger'd worse: go bid my woman
    Search for a jewel that too casually 1145
    Hath left mine arm: it was thy master's: 'shrew me,
    If I would lose it for a revenue
    Of any king's in Europe. I do think
    I saw't this morning: confident I am
    Last night 'twas on mine arm; I kiss'd it: 1150
    I hope it be not gone to tell my lord
    That I kiss aught but he.
  • Imogen. I hope so: go and search.

[Exit PISANIO]

  • Cloten. You have abused me:
    'His meanest garment!'
  • Imogen. Ay, I said so, sir:
    If you will make't an action, call witness to't.
  • Cloten. I will inform your father. 1160
  • Imogen. Your mother too:
    She's my good lady, and will conceive, I hope,
    But the worst of me. So, I leave you, sir,
    To the worst of discontent.

[Exit]

  • Cloten. I'll be revenged:
    'His meanest garment!' Well.

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 4

Rome. Philario’s house.

      next scene .
---

[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.
  • Philario. What means do you make to him?
  • Posthumus Leonatus. Not any, but abide the change of time, 1175
    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.
  • Philario. Your very goodness and your company 1180
    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 1185
    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 1190
    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 1195
    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.

[Enter 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.
  • Posthumus Leonatus. I hope the briefness of your answer made
    The speediness of your return.
  • Iachimo. Your lady
    Is one of the fairest that I have look'd upon.
  • Posthumus Leonatus. And therewithal the best; or let her beauty 1210
    Look through a casement to allure false hearts
    And be false with them.
  • Iachimo. Here are letters for you.
  • Philario. Was Caius Lucius in the Britain court
    When you were there?
  • Iachimo. He was expected then,
    But not approach'd.
  • Posthumus Leonatus. All is well yet. 1220
    Sparkles this stone as it was wont? or is't not
    Too dull for your good wearing?
  • 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 1225
    A second night of such sweet shortness which
    Was mine in Britain, for the ring is won.
  • Iachimo. Not a whit,
    Your lady being so easy. 1230
  • Posthumus Leonatus. Make not, sir,
    Your loss your sport: I hope you know that we
    Must not continue friends.
  • Iachimo. Good sir, we must,
    If you keep covenant. Had I not brought 1235
    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 1240
    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 1245
    Your sword or mine, or masterless leaves both
    To who shall find them.
  • Iachimo. Sir, my circumstances,
    Being so near the truth as I will make them,
    Must first induce you to believe: whose strength 1250
    I will confirm with oath; which, I doubt not,
    You'll give me leave to spare, when you shall find
    You need it not.
  • Iachimo. First, her bedchamber,— 1255
    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 1260
    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— 1265
  • Posthumus Leonatus. This is true;
    And this you might have heard of here, by me,
    Or by some other.
  • Iachimo. More particulars
    Must justify my knowledge. 1270
  • Iachimo. The chimney
    Is south the chamber, and the chimney-piece
    Chaste Dian bathing: never saw I figures 1275
    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, 1280
    Being, as it is, much spoke of.
  • 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 1285
    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 1290
    The wager you have laid.
  • 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 1295
    To that your diamond; I'll keep them.
  • Iachimo. Sir—I thank her—that: 1300
    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.
  • 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, 1310
    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. 1315
    O, above measure false!
  • 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, 1320
    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. 1325
  • 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! 1330
    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 1335
    Divide themselves between you!
  • Philario. Sir, be patient:
    This is not strong enough to be believed
    Of one persuaded well of—
  • 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, 1345
    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, 1350
    Were there no more but it.
  • 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.
  • 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—

[Exit]

  • Philario. Quite besides 1365
    The government of patience! You have won:
    Let's follow him, and pervert the present wrath
    He hath against himself.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 5

Another room in Philario’s house.

      next scene .
---

[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 1375
    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 1380
    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?— 1385
    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 1390
    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; 1395
    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 1400
    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: 1405
    The very devils cannot plague them better.

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 1

Britain. A hall in Cymbeline’s palace.

      next scene .
---

[Enter in state, CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN,] [p]and Lords at one door, and at another, [p]CAIUS LUCIUS and Attendants]

  • Cymbeline. Now say, what would Augustus Caesar with us?
  • Caius Lucius. When Julius Caesar, whose remembrance yet
    Lives in men's eyes and will to ears and tongues
    Be theme and hearing ever, was in this Britain
    And conquer'd it, Cassibelan, thine uncle,— 1415
    Famous in Caesar's praises, no whit less
    Than in his feats deserving it—for him
    And his succession granted Rome a tribute,
    Yearly three thousand pounds, which by thee lately
    Is left untender'd. 1420
  • Queen. And, to kill the marvel,
    Shall be so ever.
  • Cloten. There be many Caesars,
    Ere such another Julius. Britain is
    A world by itself; and we will nothing pay 1425
    For wearing our own noses.
  • Queen. That opportunity
    Which then they had to take from 's, to resume
    We have again. Remember, sir, my liege,
    The kings your ancestors, together with 1430
    The natural bravery of your isle, which stands
    As Neptune's park, ribbed and paled in
    With rocks unscalable and roaring waters,
    With sands that will not bear your enemies' boats,
    But suck them up to the topmast. A kind of conquest 1435
    Caesar made here; but made not here his brag
    Of 'Came' and 'saw' and 'overcame: ' with shame—
    That first that ever touch'd him—he was carried
    From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping—
    Poor ignorant baubles!— upon our terrible seas, 1440
    Like egg-shells moved upon their surges, crack'd
    As easily 'gainst our rocks: for joy whereof
    The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point—
    O giglot fortune!—to master Caesar's sword,Made Lud's town with rejoicing fires bright
    And Britons strut with courage. 1445
  • Cloten. Come, there's no more tribute to be paid: our
    kingdom is stronger than it was at that time; and,
    as I said, there is no moe such Caesars: other of
    them may have crook'd noses, but to owe such
    straight arms, none. 1450
  • Cloten. We have yet many among us can gripe as hard as
    Cassibelan: I do not say I am one; but I have a
    hand. Why tribute? why should we pay tribute? If
    Caesar can hide the sun from us with a blanket, or 1455
    put the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute
    for light; else, sir, no more tribute, pray you now.
  • Cymbeline. You must know,
    Till the injurious Romans did extort
    This tribute from us, we were free: 1460
    Caesar's ambition,
    Which swell'd so much that it did almost stretch
    The sides o' the world, against all colour here
    Did put the yoke upon 's; which to shake off
    Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon 1465
    Ourselves to be.
  • Cymbeline. Say, then, to Caesar,
    Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which
    Ordain'd our laws, whose use the sword of Caesar 1470
    Hath too much mangled; whose repair and franchise
    Shall, by the power we hold, be our good deed,
    Though Rome be therefore angry: Mulmutius made our laws,
    Who was the first of Britain which did put
    His brows within a golden crown and call'd 1475
    Himself a king.
  • Caius Lucius. I am sorry, Cymbeline,
    That I am to pronounce Augustus Caesar—
    Caesar, that hath more kings his servants than
    Thyself domestic officers—thine enemy: 1480
    Receive it from me, then: war and confusion
    In Caesar's name pronounce I 'gainst thee: look
    For fury not to be resisted. Thus defied,
    I thank thee for myself.
  • Cymbeline. Thou art welcome, Caius. 1485
    Thy Caesar knighted me; my youth I spent
    Much under him; of him I gather'd honour;
    Which he to seek of me again, perforce,
    Behoves me keep at utterance. I am perfect
    That the Pannonians and Dalmatians for 1490
    Their liberties are now in arms; a precedent
    Which not to read would show the Britons cold:
    So Caesar shall not find them.
  • Cloten. His majesty bids you welcome. Make 1495
    pastime with us a day or two, or longer: if
    you seek us afterwards in other terms, you
    shall find us in our salt-water girdle: if you
    beat us out of it, it is yours; if you fall in
    the adventure, our crows shall fare the better 1500
    for you; and there's an end.
  • Cymbeline. I know your master's pleasure and he mine:
    All the remain is 'Welcome!'

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

Another room in the palace.

      next scene .
---

[Enter PISANIO, with a letter]

  • Pisanio. How? of adultery? Wherefore write you not
    What monster's her accuser? Leonatus,
    O master! what a strange infection
    Is fall'n into thy ear! What false Italian, 1510
    As poisonous-tongued as handed, hath prevail'd
    On thy too ready hearing? Disloyal! No:
    She's punish'd for her truth, and undergoes,
    More goddess-like than wife-like, such assaults
    As would take in some virtue. O my master! 1515
    Thy mind to her is now as low as were
    Thy fortunes. How! that I should murder her?
    Upon 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 1520
    Let me be counted serviceable. How look I,
    That I should seem to lack humanity
    so much as this fact comes to?
    [Reading]
    'Do't: the letter 1525
    that I have sent her, by her own command
    Shall give thee opportunity.' O damn'd paper!
    Black as the ink that's on thee! Senseless bauble,
    Art thou a feodary for this act, and look'st
    So virgin-like without? Lo, here she comes. 1530
    I am ignorant in what I am commanded.

[Enter IMOGEN]

  • Pisanio. Madam, here is a letter from my lord.
  • Imogen. Who? thy lord? that is my lord, Leonatus! 1535
    O, learn'd indeed were that astronomer
    That knew the stars as I his characters;
    He'ld lay the future open. You good gods,
    Let what is here contain'd relish of love,
    Of my lord's health, of his content, yet not 1540
    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. Blest be
    You bees that make these locks of counsel! Lovers 1545
    And men in dangerous bonds pray not alike:
    Though forfeiters you cast in prison, yet
    You clasp young Cupid's tables. Good news, gods!
    [Reads]
    'Justice, and your father's wrath, should he take me 1550
    in his dominion, could not be so cruel to me, as
    you, O 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 1555
    happiness, that remains loyal to his vow, and your,
    increasing in love,
    LEONATUS POSTHUMUS.'
    O, for a horse with wings! Hear'st thou, Pisanio?
    He is at Milford-Haven: read, and tell me 1560
    How far 'tis thither. If one of mean affairs
    May plod it in a week, why may not I
    Glide thither in a day? Then, true Pisanio,—
    Who long'st, like me, to see thy lord; who long'st,—
    let me bate,-but not like me—yet long'st, 1565
    But in a fainter kind:—O, not like me;
    For mine's beyond beyond—say, and speak thick;
    Love's counsellor should fill the bores of hearing,
    To the smothering of the sense—how far it is
    To this same blessed Milford: and by the way 1570
    Tell me how Wales was made so happy as
    To inherit such a haven: but first of all,
    How 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: 1575
    Why should excuse be born or e'er begot?
    We'll talk of that hereafter. Prithee, speak,
    How many score of miles may we well ride
    'Twixt hour and hour?
  • Pisanio. One score 'twixt sun and sun, 1580
    Madam, 's enough for you:
    [Aside]
    and too much too.
  • Imogen. Why, one that rode to's execution, man,
    Could never go so slow: I have heard of 1585
    riding wagers,
    Where horses have been nimbler than the sands
    That run i' the 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 1590
    A riding-suit, no costlier than would fit
    A franklin's housewife.
  • Pisanio. Madam, you're best consider.
  • Imogen. I see before me, man: nor here, nor here,
    Nor what ensues, but have a fog in them, 1595
    That I cannot look through. Away, I prithee;
    Do as I bid thee: there's no more to say,
    Accessible is none but Milford way.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 3

Wales: a mountainous country with a cave.

      next scene .
---

[Enter, from the cave, BELARIUS; GUIDERIUS,] [p]and ARVIRAGUS following]

  • Belarius. A goodly day not to keep house, with such
    Whose roof's as low as ours! Stoop, boys; this gate
    Instructs you how to adore the heavens and bows you
    To a morning's holy office: the gates of monarchs 1605
    Are arch'd so high that giants may jet through
    And keep their impious turbans on, without
    Good morrow to the sun. Hail, thou fair heaven!
    We house i' the rock, yet use thee not so hardly
    As prouder livers do. 1610
  • Belarius. Now for our mountain sport: up to yond hill;
    Your legs are young; I'll tread these flats. Consider,
    When you above perceive me like a crow, 1615
    That it is place which lessens and sets off;
    And you may then revolve what tales I have told you
    Of courts, of princes, of the tricks in war:
    This service is not service, so being done,
    But being so allow'd: to apprehend thus, 1620
    Draws us a profit from all things we see;
    And often, to our comfort, shall we find
    The sharded beetle in a safer hold
    Than is the full-wing'd eagle. O, this life
    Is nobler than attending for a cheque, 1625
    Richer than doing nothing for a bauble,
    Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk:
    Such gain the cap of him that makes 'em fine,
    Yet keeps his book uncross'd: no life to ours.
  • Guiderius. Out of your proof you speak: we, poor unfledged, 1630
    Have never wing'd from view o' the nest, nor know not
    What air's from home. Haply this life is best,
    If quiet life be best; sweeter to you
    That have a sharper known; well corresponding
    With your stiff age: but unto us it is 1635
    A cell of ignorance; travelling a-bed;
    A prison for a debtor, that not dares
    To stride a limit.
  • Arviragus. What should we speak of
    When we are old as you? when we shall hear 1640
    The rain and wind beat dark December, how,
    In this our pinching cave, shall we discourse
    The freezing hours away? We have seen nothing;
    We are beastly, subtle as the fox for prey,
    Like warlike as the wolf for what we eat; 1645
    Our valour is to chase what flies; our cage
    We make a quire, as doth the prison'd bird,
    And sing our bondage freely.
  • Belarius. How you speak!
    Did you but know the city's usuries 1650
    And felt them knowingly; the art o' the court
    As hard to leave as keep; whose top to climb
    Is certain falling, or so slippery that
    The fear's as bad as falling; the toil o' the war,
    A pain that only seems to seek out danger 1655
    I' the name of fame and honour; which dies i'
    the search,
    And hath as oft a slanderous epitaph
    As record of fair act; nay, many times,
    Doth ill deserve by doing well; what's worse, 1660
    Must court'sy at the censure:—O boys, this story
    The world may read in me: my body's mark'd
    With Roman swords, and my report was once
    First with the best of note: Cymbeline loved me,
    And when a soldier was the theme, my name 1665
    Was not far off: then was I as a tree
    Whose boughs did bend with fruit: but in one night,
    A storm or robbery, call it what you will,
    Shook down my mellow hangings, nay, my leaves,
    And left me bare to weather. 1670
  • Belarius. My fault being nothing—as I have told you oft—
    But that two villains, whose false oaths prevail'd
    Before my perfect honour, swore to Cymbeline
    I was confederate with the Romans: so 1675
    Follow'd my banishment, and this twenty years
    This rock and these demesnes have been my world;
    Where I have lived at honest freedom, paid
    More pious debts to heaven than in all
    The fore-end of my time. But up to the mountains! 1680
    This is not hunters' language: he that strikes
    The venison first shall be the lord o' the feast;
    To him the other two shall minister;
    And we will fear no poison, which attends
    In place of greater state. I'll meet you in the valleys. 1685
    [Exeunt GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS]
    How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature!
    These boys know little they are sons to the king;
    Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive.
    They think they are mine; and though train'd 1690
    up thus meanly
    I' the cave wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit
    The roofs of palaces, and nature prompts them
    In simple and low things to prince it much
    Beyond the trick of others. This Polydore, 1695
    The heir of Cymbeline and Britain, who
    The king his father call'd Guiderius,—Jove!
    When on my three-foot stool I sit and tell
    The warlike feats I have done, his spirits fly out
    Into my story: say 'Thus, mine enemy fell, 1700
    And thus I set my foot on 's neck;' even then
    The princely blood flows in his cheek, he sweats,
    Strains his young nerves and puts himself in posture
    That acts my words. The younger brother, Cadwal,
    Once Arviragus, in as like a figure, 1705
    Strikes life into my speech and shows much more
    His own conceiving.—Hark, the game is roused!
    O Cymbeline! heaven and my conscience knows
    Thou didst unjustly banish me: whereon,
    At three and two years old, I stole these babes; 1710
    Thinking to bar thee of succession, as
    Thou reft'st me of my lands. Euriphile,
    Thou wast their nurse; they took thee for
    their mother,
    And every day do honour to her grave: 1715
    Myself, Belarius, that am Morgan call'd,
    They take for natural father. The game is up.

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 4

Country near Milford-Haven.

      next scene .
---

[Enter PISANIO and IMOGEN]

  • Imogen. Thou told'st me, when we came from horse, the place 1720
    Was near at hand: ne'er long'd my mother so
    To see me first, as I have now. Pisanio! man!
    Where is Posthumus? What is in thy mind,
    That makes thee stare thus? Wherefore breaks that sigh
    From the inward of thee? One, but painted thus, 1725
    Would be interpreted a thing perplex'd
    Beyond self-explication: put thyself
    Into a havior of less fear, ere wildness
    Vanquish my staider senses. What's the matter?
    Why tender'st thou that paper to me, with 1730
    A look untender? If't be summer news,
    Smile to't before; if winterly, thou need'st
    But keep that countenance still. My husband's hand!
    That drug-damn'd Italy hath out-craftied him,
    And he's at some hard point. Speak, man: thy tongue 1735
    May take off some extremity, which to read
    Would be even mortal to me.
  • Pisanio. Please you, read;
    And you shall find me, wretched man, a thing
    The most disdain'd of fortune. 1740
  • Imogen. [Reads] 'Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath played the
    strumpet in my bed; the testimonies whereof lie
    bleeding in me. I speak not out of weak surmises,
    but from proof as strong as my grief and as certain
    as I expect my revenge. That part thou, Pisanio, 1745
    must act for me, if thy faith be not tainted with
    the breach of hers. Let thine own hands take away
    her life: I shall give thee opportunity at
    Milford-Haven. She hath my letter for the purpose
    where, if thou fear to strike and to make me certain 1750
    it is done, thou art the pandar to her dishonour and
    equally to me disloyal.'
  • Pisanio. What shall I need to draw my sword? the paper
    Hath cut her throat already. No, 'tis slander,
    Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue 1755
    Outvenoms all the worms of Nile, whose breath
    Rides on the posting winds and doth belie
    All corners of the world: kings, queens and states,
    Maids, matrons, nay, the secrets of the grave
    This viperous slander enters. What cheer, madam? 1760
  • Imogen. False to his bed! What is it to be false?
    To lie in watch there and to think on him?
    To weep 'twixt clock and clock? if sleep
    charge nature,
    To break it with a fearful dream of him 1765
    And cry myself awake? that's false to's bed, is it?
  • Imogen. I false! Thy conscience witness: Iachimo,
    Thou didst accuse him of incontinency;
    Thou then look'dst like a villain; now methinks 1770
    Thy favour's good enough. Some jay of Italy
    Whose mother was her painting, hath betray'd him:
    Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion;
    And, for I am richer than to hang by the walls,
    I must be ripp'd:—to pieces with me!—O, 1775
    Men's vows are women's traitors! All good seeming,
    By thy revolt, O husband, shall be thought
    Put on for villany; not born where't grows,
    But worn a bait for ladies.
  • Imogen. True honest men being heard, like false Aeneas,
    Were in his time thought false, and Sinon's weeping
    Did scandal many a holy tear, took pity
    From most true wretchedness: so thou, Posthumus,
    Wilt lay the leaven on all proper men; 1785
    Goodly and gallant shall be false and perjured
    From thy great fall. Come, fellow, be thou honest:
    Do thou thy master's bidding: when thou see'st him,
    A little witness my obedience: look!
    I draw the sword myself: take it, and hit 1790
    The innocent mansion of my love, my heart;
    Fear not; 'tis empty of all things but grief;
    Thy master is not there, who was indeed
    The riches of it: do his bidding; strike
    Thou mayst be valiant in a better cause; 1795
    But now thou seem'st a coward.
  • Pisanio. Hence, vile instrument!
    Thou shalt not damn my hand.
  • Imogen. Why, I must die;
    And if I do not by thy hand, thou art 1800
    No servant of thy master's. Against self-slaughter
    There is a prohibition so divine
    That cravens my weak hand. Come, here's my heart.
    Something's afore't. Soft, soft! we'll no defence;
    Obedient as the scabbard. What is here? 1805
    The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus,
    All turn'd to heresy? Away, away,
    Corrupters of my faith! you shall no more
    Be stomachers to my heart. Thus may poor fools
    Believe false teachers: though those that 1810
    are betray'd
    Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor
    Stands in worse case of woe.
    And thou, Posthumus, thou that didst set up
    My disobedience 'gainst the king my father 1815
    And make me put into contempt the suits
    Of princely fellows, shalt hereafter find
    It is no act of common passage, but
    A strain of rareness: and I grieve myself
    To think, when thou shalt be disedged by her 1820
    That now thou tirest on, how thy memory
    Will then be pang'd by me. Prithee, dispatch:
    The lamb entreats the butcher: where's thy knife?
    Thou art too slow to do thy master's bidding,
    When I desire it too. 1825
  • Pisanio. O gracious lady,
    Since I received command to do this business
    I have not slept one wink.
  • Imogen. Do't, and to bed then.
  • Pisanio. I'll wake mine eye-balls blind first. 1830
  • Imogen. Wherefore then
    Didst undertake it? Why hast thou abused
    So many miles with a pretence? this place?
    Mine action and thine own? our horses' labour?
    The time inviting thee? the perturb'd court, 1835
    For my being absent? whereunto I never
    Purpose return. Why hast thou gone so far,
    To be unbent when thou hast ta'en thy stand,
    The elected deer before thee?
  • Pisanio. But to win time 1840
    To lose so bad employment; in the which
    I have consider'd of a course. Good lady,
    Hear me with patience.
  • Imogen. Talk thy tongue weary; speak
    I have heard I am a strumpet; and mine ear 1845
    Therein false struck, can take no greater wound,
    Nor tent to bottom that. But speak.
  • Pisanio. Then, madam,
    I thought you would not back again.
  • Imogen. Most like; 1850
    Bringing me here to kill me.
  • Pisanio. Not so, neither:
    But if I were as wise as honest, then
    My purpose would prove well. It cannot be
    But that my master is abused: 1855
    Some villain, ay, and singular in his art.
    Hath done you both this cursed injury.
  • Imogen. Some Roman courtezan.
  • Pisanio. No, on my life.
    I'll give but notice you are dead and send him 1860
    Some bloody sign of it; for 'tis commanded
    I should do so: you shall be miss'd at court,
    And that will well confirm it.
  • Imogen. Why good fellow,
    What shall I do the where? where bide? how live? 1865
    Or in my life what comfort, when I am
    Dead to my husband?
  • Pisanio. If you'll back to the court—
  • Imogen. No court, no father; nor no more ado
    With that harsh, noble, simple nothing, 1870
    That Cloten, whose love-suit hath been to me
    As fearful as a siege.
  • Pisanio. If not at court,
    Then not in Britain must you bide.
  • Imogen. Where then 1875
    Hath Britain all the sun that shines? Day, night,
    Are they not but in Britain? I' the world's volume
    Our Britain seems as of it, but not in 't;
    In a great pool a swan's nest: prithee, think
    There's livers out of Britain. 1880
  • Pisanio. I am most glad
    You think of other place. The ambassador,
    Lucius the Roman, comes to Milford-Haven
    To-morrow: now, if you could wear a mind
    Dark as your fortune is, and but disguise 1885
    That which, to appear itself, must not yet be
    But by self-danger, you should tread a course
    Pretty and full of view; yea, haply, near
    The residence of Posthumus; so nigh at least
    That though his actions were not visible, yet 1890
    Report should render him hourly to your ear
    As truly as he moves.
  • Imogen. O, for such means!
    Though peril to my modesty, not death on't,
    I would adventure. 1895
  • Pisanio. Well, then, here's the point:
    You must forget to be a woman; change
    Command into obedience: fear and niceness—
    The handmaids of all women, or, more truly,
    Woman its pretty self—into a waggish courage: 1900
    Ready in gibes, quick-answer'd, saucy and
    As quarrelous as the weasel; nay, you must
    Forget that rarest treasure of your cheek,
    Exposing it—but, O, the harder heart!
    Alack, no remedy!—to the greedy touch 1905
    Of common-kissing Titan, and forget
    Your laboursome and dainty trims, wherein
    You made great Juno angry.
  • Imogen. Nay, be brief
    I see into thy end, and am almost 1910
    A man already.
  • Pisanio. First, make yourself but like one.
    Fore-thinking this, I have already fit—
    'Tis in my cloak-bag—doublet, hat, hose, all
    That answer to them: would you in their serving, 1915
    And with what imitation you can borrow
    From youth of such a season, 'fore noble Lucius
    Present yourself, desire his service, tell him
    wherein you're happy,—which you'll make him know,
    If that his head have ear in music,—doubtless 1920
    With joy he will embrace you, for he's honourable
    And doubling that, most holy. Your means abroad,
    You have me, rich; and I will never fail
    Beginning nor supplyment.
  • Imogen. Thou art all the comfort 1925
    The gods will diet me with. Prithee, away:
    There's more to be consider'd; but we'll even
    All that good time will give us: this attempt
    I am soldier to, and will abide it with
    A prince's courage. Away, I prithee. 1930
  • Pisanio. Well, madam, we must take a short farewell,
    Lest, being miss'd, I be suspected of
    Your carriage from the court. My noble mistress,
    Here is a box; I had it from the queen:
    What's in't is precious; if you are sick at sea, 1935
    Or stomach-qualm'd at land, a dram of this
    Will drive away distemper. To some shade,
    And fit you to your manhood. May the gods
    Direct you to the best!
  • Imogen. Amen: I thank thee. 1940

[Exeunt, severally]

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Act III, Scene 5

A room in Cymbeline’s palace.

      next scene .
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[Enter CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN, LUCIUS,] [p]Lords, and Attendants]

  • Caius Lucius. Thanks, royal sir. 1945
    My emperor hath wrote, I must from hence;
    And am right sorry that I must report ye
    My master's enemy.
  • Cymbeline. Our subjects, sir,
    Will not endure his yoke; and for ourself 1950
    To show less sovereignty than they, must needs
    Appear unkinglike.
  • Caius Lucius. So, sir: I desire of you
    A conduct over-land to Milford-Haven.
    Madam, all joy befal your grace! 1955
  • Cymbeline. My lords, you are appointed for that office;
    The due of honour in no point omit.
    So farewell, noble Lucius.
  • Cloten. Receive it friendly; but from this time forth
    I wear it as your enemy.
  • Caius Lucius. Sir, the event
    Is yet to name the winner: fare you well.
  • Cymbeline. Leave not the worthy Lucius, good my lords, 1965
    Till he have cross'd the Severn. Happiness!

[Exeunt LUCIUS and Lords]

  • Queen. He goes hence frowning: but it honours us
    That we have given him cause.
  • Cloten. 'Tis all the better; 1970
    Your valiant Britons have their wishes in it.
  • Cymbeline. Lucius hath wrote already to the emperor
    How it goes here. It fits us therefore ripely
    Our chariots and our horsemen be in readiness:
    The powers that he already hath in Gallia 1975
    Will soon be drawn to head, from whence he moves
    His war for Britain.
  • Queen. 'Tis not sleepy business;
    But must be look'd to speedily and strongly.
  • Cymbeline. Our expectation that it would be thus 1980
    Hath made us forward. But, my gentle queen,
    Where is our daughter? She hath not appear'd
    Before the Roman, nor to us hath tender'd
    The duty of the day: she looks us like
    A thing more made of malice than of duty: 1985
    We have noted it. Call her before us; for
    We have been too slight in sufferance.

[Exit an Attendant]

  • Queen. Royal sir,
    Since the exile of Posthumus, most retired 1990
    Hath 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. 1995

[Re-enter Attendant]

  • Cymbeline. Where is she, sir? How
    Can her contempt be answer'd?
  • Attendant. Please you, sir,
    Her chambers are all lock'd; and there's no answer 2000
    That will be given to the loudest noise we make.
  • Queen. My lord, when last I went to visit her,
    She pray'd me to excuse her keeping close,
    Whereto constrain'd by her infirmity,
    She should that duty leave unpaid to you, 2005
    Which daily she was bound to proffer: this
    She wish'd me to make known; but our great court
    Made me to blame in memory.
  • Cymbeline. Her doors lock'd?
    Not seen of late? Grant, heavens, that which I fear 2010
    Prove false!

[Exit]

  • Queen. Son, I say, follow the king.
  • Cloten. That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant,
    have not seen these two days. 2015
  • Queen. Go, look after.
    [Exit CLOTEN]
    Pisanio, thou that stand'st so for Posthumus!
    He hath a drug of mine; I pray his absence
    Proceed by swallowing that, for he believes 2020
    It is a thing most precious. But for her,
    Where is she gone? Haply, despair hath seized her,
    Or, wing'd with fervor of her love, she's flown
    To her desired Posthumus: gone she is
    To death or to dishonour; and my end 2025
    Can make good use of either: she being down,
    I have the placing of the British crown.
    [Re-enter CLOTEN]
    How now, my son!
  • Cloten. 'Tis certain she is fled. 2030
    Go in and cheer the king: he rages; none
    Dare come about him.
  • Queen. [Aside] All the better: may
    This night forestall him of the coming day!

[Exit]

  • Cloten. 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
    The best she hath, and she, of all compounded,
    Outsells them all; I love her therefore: but 2040
    Disdaining me and throwing favours on
    The low Posthumus slanders so her judgment
    That what's else rare is choked; and in that point
    I will conclude to hate her, nay, indeed,
    To be revenged upon her. For when fools Shall— 2045
    [Enter PISANIO]
    Who is here? What, are you packing, sirrah?
    Come hither: ah, you precious pander! Villain,
    Where is thy lady? In a word; or else
    Thou art straightway with the fiends. 2050
  • Cloten. Where is thy lady? Or, by Jupiter,—
    I will not ask again. Close villain,
    I'll have this secret from thy heart, or rip
    Thy heart to find it. Is she with Posthumus? 2055
    From whose so many weights of baseness cannot
    A dram of worth be drawn.
  • Pisanio. Alas, my lord,
    How can she be with him? When was she missed?
    He is in Rome. 2060
  • Cloten. Where is she, sir? Come nearer;
    No further halting: satisfy me home
    What is become of her.
  • Cloten. All-worthy villain! 2065
    Discover where thy mistress is at once,
    At the next word: no more of 'worthy lord!'
    Speak, or thy silence on the instant is
    Thy condemnation and thy death.
  • Pisanio. Then, sir, 2070
    This paper is the history of my knowledge
    Touching her flight.

[Presenting a letter]

  • Cloten. Let's see't. I will pursue her
    Even to Augustus' throne. 2075
  • Pisanio. [Aside] Or this, or perish.
    She's far enough; and what he learns by this
    May prove his travel, not her danger.
  • Pisanio. [Aside] I'll write to my lord she's dead. O Imogen, 2080
    Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again!
  • Cloten. Sirrah, is this letter true?
  • Cloten. It is Posthumus' hand; I know't. Sirrah, if thou
    wouldst not be a villain, but do me true service, 2085
    undergo those employments wherein I should have
    cause to use thee with a serious industry, that is,
    what villany soe'er I bid thee do, to perform it
    directly and truly, I would think thee an honest
    man: thou shouldst neither want my means for thy 2090
    relief nor my voice for thy preferment.
  • Cloten. Wilt thou serve me? for since patiently and
    constantly thou hast stuck to the bare fortune of
    that beggar Posthumus, thou canst not, in the 2095
    course of gratitude, but be a diligent follower of
    mine: wilt thou serve me?
  • Cloten. Give me thy hand; here's my purse. Hast any of thy
    late master's garments in thy possession? 2100
  • Pisanio. I have, my lord, at my lodging, the same suit he
    wore when he took leave of my lady and mistress.
  • Cloten. The first service thou dost me, fetch that suit
    hither: let it be thy lint service; go.

[Exit]

  • Cloten. 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
    garments were come. She said upon a time—the 2110
    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 ravish her: first kill him, and in her 2115
    eyes; there shall she see my valour, 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 2120
    praised,—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.
    [Re-enter PISANIO, with the clothes]
    Be those the garments? 2125
  • Cloten. How long is't since she went to Milford-Haven?
  • Pisanio. She can scarce be there yet.
  • Cloten. Bring this apparel to my chamber; that is the second
    thing that I have commanded thee: the third is, 2130
    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.

[Exit]

  • Pisanio. Thou bid'st me to my loss: for true to thee
    Were to prove false, which I will never be,
    To him that is most true. To Milford go,
    And find not her whom thou pursuest. Flow, flow,
    You heavenly blessings, on her! This fool's speed 2140
    Be cross'd with slowness; labour be his meed!

[Exit]

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Act III, Scene 6

Wales. Before the cave of Belarius.

      next scene .
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[Enter IMOGEN, in boy's clothes]

  • Imogen. I see a man's life is a tedious one:
    I have tired myself, and for two nights together 2145
    Have made the ground my bed. I should be sick,
    But that my resolution helps me. Milford,
    When from the mountain-top Pisanio show'd thee,
    Thou wast within a ken: O Jove! I think
    Foundations fly the wretched; such, I mean, 2150
    Where they should be relieved. Two beggars told me
    I could not miss my way: will poor folks lie,
    That have afflictions on them, knowing 'tis
    A punishment or trial? Yes; no wonder,
    When rich ones scarce tell true. To lapse in fulness 2155
    Is sorer than to lie for need, and falsehood
    Is worse in kings than beggars. My dear lord!
    Thou art one o' the false ones. Now I think on thee,
    My hunger's gone; but even before, I was
    At point to sink for food. But what is this? 2160
    Here is a path to't: 'tis some savage hold:
    I were best not to call; I dare not call:
    yet famine,
    Ere clean it o'erthrow nature, makes it valiant,
    Plenty and peace breeds cowards: hardness ever 2165
    Of hardiness is mother. Ho! who's here?
    If any thing that's civil, speak; if savage,
    Take or lend. Ho! No answer? Then I'll enter.
    Best draw my sword: and if mine enemy
    But fear the sword like me, he'll scarcely look on't. 2170
    Such a foe, good heavens!

[Exit, to the cave]

[Enter BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS]

  • Belarius. You, Polydote, have proved best woodman and
    Are master of the feast: Cadwal and I 2175
    Will play the cook and servant; 'tis our match:
    The sweat of industry would dry and die,
    But for the end it works to. Come; our stomachs
    Will make what's homely savoury: weariness
    Can snore upon the flint, when resty sloth 2180
    Finds the down pillow hard. Now peace be here,
    Poor house, that keep'st thyself!
  • Arviragus. I am weak with toil, yet strong in appetite.
  • Guiderius. There is cold meat i' the cave; we'll browse on that, 2185
    Whilst what we have kill'd be cook'd.
  • Belarius. [Looking into the cave]
    Stay; come not in.
    But that it eats our victuals, I should think
    Here were a fairy. 2190
  • Belarius. By Jupiter, an angel! or, if not,
    An earthly paragon! Behold divineness
    No elder than a boy!

[Re-enter IMOGEN]

  • Imogen. Good masters, harm me not:
    Before I enter'd here, I call'd; and thought
    To have begg'd or bought what I have took:
    good troth,
    I have stol'n nought, nor would not, though I had found 2200
    Gold strew'd i' the floor. Here's money for my meat:
    I would have left it on the board so soon
    As I had made my meal, and parted
    With prayers for the provider.
  • Arviragus. All gold and silver rather turn to dirt!
    As 'tis no better reckon'd, but of those
    Who worship dirty gods.
  • Imogen. I see you're angry:
    Know, if you kill me for my fault, I should 2210
    Have died had I not made it.
  • Imogen. Fidele, sir. I have a kinsman who 2215
    Is bound for Italy; he embark'd at Milford;
    To whom being going, almost spent with hunger,
    I am fall'n in this offence.
  • Belarius. Prithee, fair youth,
    Think us no churls, nor measure our good minds 2220
    By this rude place we live in. Well encounter'd!
    'Tis almost night: you shall have better cheer
    Ere you depart: and thanks to stay and eat it.
    Boys, bid him welcome.
  • Guiderius. Were you a woman, youth, 2225
    I should woo hard but be your groom. In honesty,
    I bid for you as I'd buy.
  • Arviragus. I'll make't my comfort
    He is a man; I'll love him as my brother:
    And such a welcome as I'd give to him 2230
    After long absence, such is yours: most welcome!
    Be sprightly, for you fall 'mongst friends.
  • Imogen. 'Mongst friends,
    If brothers.
    [Aside] 2235
    Would it had been so, that they
    Had been my father's sons! then had my prize
    Been less, and so more equal ballasting
    To thee, Posthumus.
  • Belarius. He wrings at some distress. 2240
  • Arviragus. Or I, whate'er it be,
    What pain it cost, what danger. God's!

[Whispering]

  • Imogen. Great men,
    That had a court no bigger than this cave,
    That did attend themselves and had the virtue
    Which their own conscience seal'd them—laying by
    That nothing-gift of differing multitudes— 2250
    Could not out-peer these twain. Pardon me, gods!
    I'd change my sex to be companion with them,
    Since Leonatus's false.
  • Belarius. It shall be so.
    Boys, we'll go dress our hunt. Fair youth, come in: 2255
    Discourse is heavy, fasting; when we have supp'd,
    We'll mannerly demand thee of thy story,
    So far as thou wilt speak it.
  • Arviragus. The night to the owl and morn to the lark 2260
    less welcome.

[Exeunt]

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Act III, Scene 7

Rome. A public place.

      next scene .
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[Enter two Senators and Tribunes]

  • First Senator. This is the tenor of the emperor's writ:
    That since the common men are now in action
    'Gainst the Pannonians and Dalmatians,
    And that the legions now in Gallia are
    Full weak to undertake our wars against 2270
    The fall'n-off Britons, that we do incite
    The gentry to this business. He creates
    Lucius preconsul: and to you the tribunes,
    For this immediate levy, he commends
    His absolute commission. Long live Caesar! 2275
  • First Senator. With those legions
    Which I have spoke of, whereunto your levy 2280
    Must be supplyant: the words of your commission
    Will tie you to the numbers and the time
    Of their dispatch.

[Exeunt]

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Act IV, Scene 1

Wales: near the cave of Belarius.

      next scene .
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[Enter CLOTEN]

  • Cloten. I am near to the place where they should meet, if
    Pisanio have mapped it truly. How fit his garments
    serve me! Why should his mistress, who was made by
    him that made the tailor, not be fit too? the 2290
    rather—saving reverence of the word—for 'tis said
    a woman's fitness comes by fits. Therein I must
    play the workman. I dare speak it to myself—for it
    is not vain-glory for a man and his glass to confer
    in his own chamber—I mean, the lines of my body are 2295
    as well drawn as his; no less young, more strong,
    not beneath him in fortunes, beyond him in the
    advantage of the time, above him in birth, alike
    conversant in general services, and more remarkable
    in single oppositions: yet this imperceiverant 2300
    thing loves him in my despite. What mortality is!
    Posthumus, thy head, which now is growing upon thy
    shoulders, shall within this hour be off; thy
    mistress enforced; thy garments cut to pieces before
    thy face: and all this done, spurn her home to her 2305
    father; who may haply be a little angry for my so
    rough usage; but my mother, having power of his
    testiness, shall turn all into my commendations. My
    horse is tied up safe: out, sword, and to a sore
    purpose! Fortune, put them into my hand! This is 2310
    the very description of their meeting-place; and
    the fellow dares not deceive me.

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2

Before the cave of Belarius.

      next scene .
---

[Enter, from the cave, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS,] [p]ARVIRAGUS, and IMOGEN]

  • Belarius. [To IMOGEN] You are not well: remain here in the cave;
    We'll come to you after hunting.
  • Arviragus. [To IMOGEN]. Brother, stay here
    Are we not brothers?
  • Imogen. So man and man should be; 2320
    But clay and clay differs in dignity,
    Whose dust is both alike. I am very sick.
  • Guiderius. Go you to hunting; I'll abide with him.
  • Imogen. So sick I am not, yet I am not well;
    But not so citizen a wanton as 2325
    To seem to die ere sick: so please you, leave me;
    Stick to your journal course: the breach of custom
    Is breach of all. I am ill, but your being by me
    Cannot amend me; society is no comfort
    To one not sociable: I am not very sick, 2330
    Since I can reason of it. Pray you, trust me here:
    I'll rob none but myself; and let me die,
    Stealing so poorly.
  • Guiderius. I love thee; I have spoke it
    How much the quantity, the weight as much, 2335
    As I do love my father.
  • Arviragus. If it be sin to say so, I yoke me
    In my good brother's fault: I know not why
    I love this youth; and I have heard you say, 2340
    Love's reason's without reason: the bier at door,
    And a demand who is't shall die, I'd say
    'My father, not this youth.'
  • Belarius. [Aside]. O noble strain!
    O worthiness of nature! breed of greatness! 2345
    Cowards father cowards and base things sire base:
    Nature hath meal and bran, contempt and grace.
    I'm not their father; yet who this should be,
    Doth miracle itself, loved before me.
    'Tis the ninth hour o' the morn. 2350
  • Imogen. [Aside] These are kind creatures. Gods, what lies
    I have heard! 2355
    Our courtiers say all's savage but at court:
    Experience, O, thou disprovest report!
    The imperious seas breed monsters, for the dish
    Poor tributary rivers as sweet fish.
    I am sick still; heart-sick. Pisanio, 2360
    I'll now taste of thy drug.

[Swallows some]

  • Guiderius. I could not stir him:
    He said he was gentle, but unfortunate;
    Dishonestly afflicted, but yet honest. 2365
  • Arviragus. Thus did he answer me: yet said, hereafter
    I might know more.
  • Belarius. To the field, to the field!
    We'll leave you for this time: go in and rest.
  • Belarius. Pray, be not sick,
    For you must be our housewife.
  • Imogen. Well or ill,
    I am bound to you.
  • Belarius. And shalt be ever. 2375
    [Exit IMOGEN, to the cave]
    This youth, how'er distress'd, appears he hath had
    Good ancestors.
  • Guiderius. But his neat cookery! he cut our roots 2380
    In characters,
    And sauced our broths, as Juno had been sick
    And he her dieter.
  • Arviragus. Nobly he yokes
    A smiling with a sigh, as if the sigh 2385
    Was that it was, for not being such a smile;
    The smile mocking the sigh, that it would fly
    From so divine a temple, to commix
    With winds that sailors rail at.
  • Guiderius. I do note 2390
    That grief and patience, rooted in him both,
    Mingle their spurs together.
  • Arviragus. Grow, patience!
    And let the stinking elder, grief, untwine
    His perishing root with the increasing vine! 2395
  • Belarius. It is great morning. Come, away!—
    Who's there?

[Enter CLOTEN]

  • Cloten. I cannot find those runagates; that villain
    Hath mock'd me. I am faint. 2400
  • Belarius. 'Those runagates!'
    Means he not us? I partly know him: 'tis
    Cloten, the son o' the queen. I fear some ambush.
    I saw him not these many years, and yet
    I know 'tis he. We are held as outlaws: hence! 2405
  • Guiderius. He is but one: you and my brother search
    What companies are near: pray you, away;
    Let me alone with him.

[Exeunt BELARIUS and ARVIRAGUS]

  • Cloten. Soft! What are you 2410
    That fly me thus? some villain mountaineers?
    I have heard of such. What slave art thou?
  • Guiderius. A thing
    More slavish did I ne'er than answering
    A slave without a knock. 2415
  • Cloten. Thou art a robber,
    A law-breaker, a villain: yield thee, thief.
  • Guiderius. To who? to thee? What art thou? Have not I
    An arm as big as thine? a heart as big?
    Thy words, I grant, are bigger, for I wear not 2420
    My dagger in my mouth. Say what thou art,
    Why I should yield to thee?
  • Cloten. Thou villain base,
    Know'st me not by my clothes?
  • Guiderius. No, nor thy tailor, rascal, 2425
    Who is thy grandfather: he made those clothes,
    Which, as it seems, make thee.
  • Cloten. Thou precious varlet,
    My tailor made them not.
  • Guiderius. Hence, then, and thank 2430
    The man that gave them thee. Thou art some fool;
    I am loath to beat thee.
  • Cloten. Thou injurious thief,
    Hear but my name, and tremble.
  • Cloten. Cloten, thou villain.
  • Guiderius. Cloten, thou double villain, be thy name,
    I cannot tremble at it: were it Toad, or
    Adder, Spider,
    'Twould move me sooner. 2440
  • Cloten. To thy further fear,
    Nay, to thy mere confusion, thou shalt know
    I am son to the queen.
  • Guiderius. I am sorry for 't; not seeming
    So worthy as thy birth. 2445
  • Guiderius. Those that I reverence those I fear, the wise:
    At fools I laugh, not fear them.
  • Cloten. Die the death:
    When I have slain thee with my proper hand, 2450
    I'll follow those that even now fled hence,
    And on the gates of Lud's-town set your heads:
    Yield, rustic mountaineer.

[Exeunt, fighting]

[Re-enter BELARIUS and ARVIRAGUS]

  • Arviragus. None in the world: you did mistake him, sure.
  • Belarius. I cannot tell: long is it since I saw him,
    But time hath nothing blurr'd those lines of favour
    Which then he wore; the snatches in his voice, 2460
    And burst of speaking, were as his: I am absolute
    'Twas very Cloten.
  • Arviragus. In this place we left them:
    I wish my brother make good time with him,
    You say he is so fell. 2465
  • Belarius. Being scarce made up,
    I mean, to man, he had not apprehension
    Of roaring terrors; for the effect of judgment
    Is oft the cause of fear. But, see, thy brother.

[Re-enter GUIDERIUS, with CLOTEN'S head]

  • Guiderius. This Cloten was a fool, an empty purse;
    There was no money in't: not Hercules
    Could have knock'd out his brains, for he had none:
    Yet I not doing this, the fool had borne
    My head as I do his. 2475
  • Guiderius. I am perfect what: cut off one Cloten's head,
    Son to the queen, after his own report;
    Who call'd me traitor, mountaineer, and swore
    With his own single hand he'ld take us in 2480
    Displace our heads where—thank the gods!—they grow,
    And set them on Lud's-town.
  • Guiderius. Why, worthy father, what have we to lose,
    But that he swore to take, our lives? The law 2485
    Protects not us: then why should we be tender
    To let an arrogant piece of flesh threat us,
    Play judge and executioner all himself,
    For we do fear the law? What company
    Discover you abroad? 2490
  • Belarius. No single soul
    Can we set eye on; but in all safe reason
    He must have some attendants. Though his humour
    Was nothing but mutation, ay, and that
    From one bad thing to worse; not frenzy, not 2495
    Absolute madness could so far have raved
    To bring him here alone; although perhaps
    It may be heard at court that such as we
    Cave here, hunt here, are outlaws, and in time
    May make some stronger head; the which he hearing— 2500
    As it is like him—might break out, and swear
    He'ld fetch us in; yet is't not probable
    To come alone, either he so undertaking,
    Or they so suffering: then on good ground we fear,
    If we do fear this body hath a tail 2505
    More perilous than the head.
  • Arviragus. Let ordinance
    Come as the gods foresay it: howsoe'er,
    My brother hath done well.
  • Belarius. I had no mind 2510
    To hunt this day: the boy Fidele's sickness
    Did make my way long forth.
  • Guiderius. With his own sword,
    Which he did wave against my throat, I have ta'en
    His head from him: I'll throw't into the creek 2515
    Behind our rock; and let it to the sea,
    And tell the fishes he's the queen's son, Cloten:
    That's all I reck.

[Exit]

  • Belarius. I fear 'twill be revenged: 2520
    Would, Polydote, thou hadst not done't! though valour
    Becomes thee well enough.
  • Arviragus. Would I had done't
    So the revenge alone pursued me! Polydore,
    I love thee brotherly, but envy much 2525
    Thou hast robb'd me of this deed: I would revenges,
    That possible strength might meet, would seek us through
    And put us to our answer.
  • Belarius. Well, 'tis done:
    We'll hunt no more to-day, nor seek for danger 2530
    Where there's no profit. I prithee, to our rock;
    You and Fidele play the cooks: I'll stay
    Till hasty Polydote return, and bring him
    To dinner presently.
  • Arviragus. Poor sick Fidele! 2535
    I'll weringly to him: to gain his colour
    I'ld let a parish of such Clotens' blood,
    And praise myself for charity.

[Exit]

  • Belarius. O thou goddess, 2540
    Thou divine Nature, how thyself thou blazon'st
    In these two princely boys! They are as gentle
    As zephyrs blowing below the violet,
    Not wagging his sweet head; and yet as rough,
    Their royal blood enchafed, as the rudest wind, 2545
    That by the top doth take the mountain pine,
    And make him stoop to the vale. 'Tis wonder
    That an invisible instinct should frame them
    To royalty unlearn'd, honour untaught,
    Civility not seen from other, valour 2550
    That wildly grows in them, but yields a crop
    As if it had been sow'd. Yet still it's strange
    What Cloten's being here to us portends,
    Or what his death will bring us.

[Re-enter GUIDERIUS]

  • Guiderius. Where's my brother?
    I have sent Cloten's clotpoll down the stream,
    In embassy to his mother: his body's hostage
    For his return.

[Solemn music]

  • Belarius. My ingenious instrument!
    Hark, Polydore, it sounds! But what occasion
    Hath Cadwal now to give it motion? Hark!
  • Guiderius. What does he mean? since death of my dear'st mother
    it did not speak before. All solemn things
    Should answer solemn accidents. The matter?
    Triumphs for nothing and lamenting toys
    Is jollity for apes and grief for boys. 2570
    Is Cadwal mad?
  • Belarius. Look, here he comes,
    And brings the dire occasion in his arms
    Of what we blame him for.
    [Re-enter ARVIRAGUS, with IMOGEN, as dead,] 2575
    bearing her in his arms]
  • Arviragus. The bird is dead
    That we have made so much on. I had rather
    Have skipp'd from sixteen years of age to sixty,
    To have turn'd my leaping-time into a crutch, 2580
    Than have seen this.
  • Guiderius. O sweetest, fairest lily!
    My brother wears thee not the one half so well
    As when thou grew'st thyself.
  • Belarius. O melancholy! 2585
    Who ever yet could sound thy bottom? find
    The ooze, to show what coast thy sluggish crare
    Might easiliest harbour in? Thou blessed thing!
    Jove knows what man thou mightst have made; but I,
    Thou diedst, a most rare boy, of melancholy. 2590
    How found you him?
  • Arviragus. Stark, as you see:
    Thus smiling, as some fly hid tickled slumber,
    Not as death's dart, being laugh'd at; his
    right cheek 2595
    Reposing on a cushion.
  • Arviragus. O' the floor;
    His arms thus leagued: I thought he slept, and put
    My clouted brogues from off my feet, whose rudeness 2600
    Answer'd my steps too loud.
  • Guiderius. Why, he but sleeps:
    If he be gone, he'll make his grave a bed;
    With female fairies will his tomb be haunted,
    And worms will not come to thee. 2605
  • Arviragus. With fairest flowers
    Whilst summer lasts and I live here, Fidele,
    I'll sweeten thy sad grave: thou shalt not lack
    The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose, nor
    The azured harebell, like thy veins, no, nor 2610
    The leaf of eglantine, whom not to slander,
    Out-sweeten'd not thy breath: the ruddock would,
    With charitable bill,—O bill, sore-shaming
    Those rich-left heirs that let their fathers lie
    Without a monument!—bring thee all this; 2615
    Yea, and furr'd moss besides, when flowers are none,
    To winter-ground thy corse.
  • Guiderius. Prithee, have done;
    And do not play in wench-like words with that
    Which is so serious. Let us bury him, 2620
    And not protract with admiration what
    Is now due debt. To the grave!
  • Arviragus. Be't so: 2625
    And let us, Polydore, though now our voices
    Have got the mannish crack, sing him to the ground,
    As once our mother; use like note and words,
    Save that Euriphile must be Fidele.
  • Guiderius. Cadwal, 2630
    I cannot sing: I'll weep, and word it with thee;
    For notes of sorrow out of tune are worse
    Than priests and fanes that lie.
  • Belarius. Great griefs, I see, medicine the less; for Cloten 2635
    Is quite forgot. He was a queen's son, boys;
    And though he came our enemy, remember
    He was paid for that: though mean and
    mighty, rotting
    Together, have one dust, yet reverence, 2640
    That angel of the world, doth make distinction
    Of place 'tween high and low. Our foe was princely
    And though you took his life, as being our foe,
    Yet bury him as a prince.
  • Guiderius. Pray You, fetch him hither. 2645
    Thersites' body is as good as Ajax',
    When neither are alive.
  • Arviragus. If you'll go fetch him,
    We'll say our song the whilst. Brother, begin.

[Exit BELARIUS]

  • Guiderius. Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head to the east;
    My father hath a reason for't.

[SONG]

  • Guiderius. Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
    Nor the furious winter's rages;
    Thou thy worldly task hast done,
    Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages: 2660
    Golden lads and girls all must,
    As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
  • Arviragus. Fear no more the frown o' the great;
    Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
    Care no more to clothe and eat; 2665
    To thee the reed is as the oak:
    The sceptre, learning, physic, must
    All follow this, and come to dust.
  • Guiderius. Fear no more the lightning flash,
  • Arviragus. Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone; 2670
  • Guiderius. [with Arviragus] All lovers young, all lovers must
    Consign to thee, and come to dust.
  • Guiderius. [with Arviragus] Quiet consummation have;
    And renowned be thy grave! 2680

[Re-enter BELARIUS, with the body of CLOTEN]

  • Guiderius. We have done our obsequies: come, lay him down.
  • Belarius. Here's a few flowers; but 'bout midnight, more:
    The herbs that have on them cold dew o' the night
    Are strewings fitt'st for graves. Upon their faces. 2685
    You were as flowers, now wither'd: even so
    These herblets shall, which we upon you strew.
    Come on, away: apart upon our knees.
    The ground that gave them first has them again:
    Their pleasures here are past, so is their pain. 2690

[Exeunt BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS]

  • Imogen. [Awaking] Yes, sir, to Milford-Haven; which is
    the way?—
    I thank you.—By yond bush?—Pray, how far thither?
    'Ods pittikins! can it be six mile yet?— 2695
    I have gone all night. 'Faith, I'll lie down and sleep.
    But, soft! no bedfellow!—O gods and goddesses!
    [Seeing the body of CLOTEN]
    These flowers are like the pleasures of the world;
    This bloody man, the care on't. I hope I dream; 2700
    For so I thought I was a cave-keeper,
    And cook to honest creatures: but 'tis not so;
    'Twas but a bolt of nothing, shot at nothing,
    Which the brain makes of fumes: our very eyes
    Are sometimes like our judgments, blind. Good faith, 2705
    I tremble stiff with fear: but if there be
    Yet left in heaven as small a drop of pity
    As a wren's eye, fear'd gods, a part of it!
    The dream's here still: even when I wake, it is
    Without me, as within me; not imagined, felt. 2710
    A headless man! The garments of Posthumus!
    I know the shape of's leg: this is his hand;
    His foot Mercurial; his Martial thigh;
    The brawns of Hercules: but his Jovial face
    Murder in heaven?—How!—'Tis gone. Pisanio, 2715
    All curses madded Hecuba gave the Greeks,
    And mine to boot, be darted on thee! Thou,
    Conspired with that irregulous devil, Cloten,
    Hast here cut off my lord. To write and read
    Be henceforth treacherous! Damn'd Pisanio 2720
    Hath with his forged letters,—damn'd Pisanio—
    From this most bravest vessel of the world
    Struck the main-top! O Posthumus! alas,
    Where is thy head? where's that? Ay me!
    where's that? 2725
    Pisanio might have kill'd thee at the heart,
    And left this head on. How should this be? Pisanio?
    'Tis he and Cloten: malice and lucre in them
    Have laid this woe here. O, 'tis pregnant, pregnant!
    The drug he gave me, which he said was precious 2730
    And cordial to me, have I not found it
    Murderous to the senses? That confirms it home:
    This is Pisanio's deed, and Cloten's: O!
    Give colour to my pale cheek with thy blood,
    That we the horrider may seem to those 2735
    Which chance to find us: O, my lord, my lord!
    [Falls on the body]
    [Enter LUCIUS, a Captain and other Officers,]
    and a Soothsayer]
  • Roman Captain. To them the legions garrison'd in Gailia, 2740
    After your will, have cross'd the sea, attending
    You here at Milford-Haven with your ships:
    They are in readiness.
  • Roman Captain. The senate hath stirr'd up the confiners 2745
    And gentlemen of Italy, most willing spirits,
    That promise noble service: and they come
    Under the conduct of bold Iachimo,
    Syenna's brother.
  • Caius Lucius. This forwardness
    Makes our hopes fair. Command our present numbers
    Be muster'd; bid the captains look to't. Now, sir,
    What have you dream'd of late of this war's purpose? 2755
  • Soothsayer. Last night the very gods show'd me a vision—
    I fast and pray'd for their intelligence—thus:
    I saw Jove's bird, the Roman eagle, wing'd
    From the spongy south to this part of the west,
    There vanish'd in the sunbeams: which portends— 2760
    Unless my sins abuse my divination—
    Success to the Roman host.
  • Caius Lucius. Dream often so,
    And never false. Soft, ho! what trunk is here
    Without his top? The ruin speaks that sometime 2765
    It was a worthy building. How! a page!
    Or dead, or sleeping on him? But dead rather;
    For nature doth abhor to make his bed
    With the defunct, or sleep upon the dead.
    Let's see the boy's face. 2770
  • Caius Lucius. He'll then instruct us of this body. Young one,
    Inform us of thy fortunes, for it seems
    They crave to be demanded. Who is this
    Thou makest thy bloody pillow? Or who was he 2775
    That, otherwise than noble nature did,
    Hath alter'd that good picture? What's thy interest
    In this sad wreck? How came it? Who is it?
    What art thou?
  • Imogen. I am nothing: or if not, 2780
    Nothing to be were better. This was my master,
    A very valiant Briton and a good,
    That here by mountaineers lies slain. Alas!
    There is no more such masters: I may wander
    From east to occident, cry out for service, 2785
    Try many, all good, serve truly, never
    Find such another master.
  • Caius Lucius. 'Lack, good youth!
    Thou movest no less with thy complaining than
    Thy master in bleeding: say his name, good friend. 2790
  • Imogen. Richard du Champ.
    [Aside]
    If I do lie and do
    No harm by it, though the gods hear, I hope
    They'll pardon it.—Say you, sir? 2795
  • Caius Lucius. Thou dost approve thyself the very same:
    Thy name well fits thy faith, thy faith thy name.
    Wilt take thy chance with me? I will not say 2800
    Thou shalt be so well master'd, but, be sure,
    No less beloved. The Roman emperor's letters,
    Sent by a consul to me, should not sooner
    Than thine own worth prefer thee: go with me.
  • Imogen. I'll follow, sir. But first, an't please the gods, 2805
    I'll hide my master from the flies, as deep
    As these poor pickaxes can dig; and when
    With wild wood-leaves and weeds I ha' strew'd his grave,
    And on it said a century of prayers,
    Such as I can, twice o'er, I'll weep and sigh; 2810
    And leaving so his service, follow you,
    So please you entertain me.
  • Caius Lucius. Ay, good youth!
    And rather father thee than master thee.
    My friends, 2815
    The boy hath taught us manly duties: let us
    Find out the prettiest daisied plot we can,
    And make him with our pikes and partisans
    A grave: come, arm him. Boy, he is preferr'd
    By thee to us, and he shall be interr'd 2820
    As soldiers can. Be cheerful; wipe thine eyes
    Some falls are means the happier to arise.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

A room in Cymbeline’s palace.

      next scene .
---

[Enter CYMBELINE, Lords, PISANIO, and Attendants]

  • Cymbeline. Again; and bring me word how 'tis with her. 2825
    [Exit an Attendant]
    A fever with the absence of her son,
    A madness, of which her life's in danger. Heavens,
    How deeply you at once do touch me! Imogen,
    The great part of my comfort, gone; my queen 2830
    Upon a desperate bed, and in a time
    When fearful wars point at me; her son gone,
    So needful for this present: it strikes me, past
    The hope of comfort. But for thee, fellow,
    Who needs must know of her departure and 2835
    Dost seem so ignorant, we'll enforce it from thee
    By a sharp torture.
  • Pisanio. Sir, my life is yours;
    I humbly set it at your will; but, for my mistress,
    I nothing know where she remains, why gone, 2840
    Nor when she purposes return. Beseech your highness,
    Hold me your loyal servant.
  • First Lord. Good my liege,
    The day that she was missing he was here:
    I dare be bound he's true and shall perform 2845
    All parts of his subjection loyally. For Cloten,
    There wants no diligence in seeking him,
    And will, no doubt, be found.
  • Cymbeline. The time is troublesome.
    [To PISANIO] 2850
    We'll slip you for a season; but our jealousy
    Does yet depend.
  • First Lord. So please your majesty,
    The Roman legions, all from Gallia drawn,
    Are landed on your coast, with a supply 2855
    Of Roman gentlemen, by the senate sent.
  • Cymbeline. Now for the counsel of my son and queen!
    I am amazed with matter.
  • First Lord. Good my liege,
    Your preparation can affront no less 2860
    Than what you hear of: come more, for more
    you're ready:
    The want is but to put those powers in motion
    That long to move.
  • Cymbeline. I thank you. Let's withdraw; 2865
    And meet the time as it seeks us. We fear not
    What can from Italy annoy us; but
    We grieve at chances here. Away!

[Exeunt all but PISANIO]

  • Pisanio. I heard no letter from my master since 2870
    I wrote him Imogen was slain: 'tis strange:
    Nor hear I from my mistress who did promise
    To yield me often tidings: neither know I
    What is betid to Cloten; but remain
    Perplex'd in all. The heavens still must work. 2875
    Wherein I am false I am honest; not true, to be true.
    These present wars shall find I love my country,
    Even to the note o' the king, or I'll fall in them.
    All other doubts, by time let them be clear'd:
    Fortune brings in some boats that are not steer'd. 2880

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 4

Wales: before the cave of Belarius.

      next scene .
---

[Enter BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS.

  • Arviragus. What pleasure, sir, find we in life, to lock it 2885
    From action and adventure?
  • Guiderius. Nay, what hope
    Have we in hiding us? This way, the Romans
    Must or for Britons slay us, or receive us
    For barbarous and unnatural revolts 2890
    During their use, and slay us after.
  • Belarius. Sons,
    We'll higher to the mountains; there secure us.
    To the king's party there's no going: newness
    Of Cloten's death—we being not known, not muster'd 2895
    Among the bands—may drive us to a render
    Where we have lived, and so extort from's that
    Which we have done, whose answer would be death
    Drawn on with torture.
  • Guiderius. This is, sir, a doubt 2900
    In such a time nothing becoming you,
    Nor satisfying us.
  • Arviragus. It is not likely
    That when they hear the Roman horses neigh,
    Behold their quarter'd fires, have both their eyes 2905
    And ears so cloy'd importantly as now,
    That they will waste their time upon our note,
    To know from whence we are.
  • Belarius. O, I am known
    Of many in the army: many years, 2910
    Though Cloten then but young, you see, not wore him
    From my remembrance. And, besides, the king
    Hath not deserved my service nor your loves;
    Who find in my exile the want of breeding,
    The certainty of this hard life; aye hopeless 2915
    To have the courtesy your cradle promised,
    But to be still hot summer's tamings and
    The shrinking slaves of winter.
  • Guiderius. Than be so
    Better to cease to be. Pray, sir, to the army: 2920
    I and my brother are not known; yourself
    So out of thought, and thereto so o'ergrown,
    Cannot be question'd.
  • Arviragus. By this sun that shines,
    I'll thither: what thing is it that I never 2925
    Did see man die! scarce ever look'd on blood,
    But that of coward hares, hot goats, and venison!
    Never bestrid a horse, save one that had
    A rider like myself, who ne'er wore rowel
    Nor iron on his heel! I am ashamed 2930
    To look upon the holy sun, to have
    The benefit of his blest beams, remaining
    So long a poor unknown.
  • Guiderius. By heavens, I'll go:
    If you will bless me, sir, and give me leave, 2935
    I'll take the better care, but if you will not,
    The hazard therefore due fall on me by
    The hands of Romans!
  • Belarius. No reason I, since of your lives you set 2940
    So slight a valuation, should reserve
    My crack'd one to more care. Have with you, boys!
    If in your country wars you chance to die,
    That is my bed too, lads, an there I'll lie:
    Lead, lead. 2945
    [Aside]
    The time seems long; their blood
    thinks scorn,
    Till it fly out and show them princes born.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 1

Britain. The Roman camp.

      next scene .
---

[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 2955
    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 2960
    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, 2965
    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 2970
    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 2975
    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 2980
    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.

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 2

Field of battle between the British and Roman camps.

      next scene .
---

[Enter, from one side, LUCIUS, IACHIMO, and] [p]the Roman Army: from the other side, the [p]British Army; POSTHUMUS LEONATUS following, [p]like a poor soldier. They march over and go [p]out. Then enter again, in skirmish, IACHIMO [p]and POSTHUMUS LEONATUS he vanquisheth and disarmeth [p]IACHIMO, and then leaves him]

  • Iachimo. The heaviness and guilt within my bosom
    Takes off my manhood: I have belied a lady,
    The princess of this country, and the air on't 2995
    Revengingly enfeebles me; or could this carl,
    A very drudge of nature's, have subdued me
    In my profession? Knighthoods and honours, borne
    As I wear mine, are titles but of scorn.
    If that thy gentry, Britain, go before 3000
    This lout as he exceeds our lords, the odds
    Is that we scarce are men and you are gods.
    [Exit]
    [The battle continues; the Britons fly; CYMBELINE is]
    taken: then enter, to his rescue, BELARIUS, 3005
    GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS]
  • Belarius. Stand, stand! We have the advantage of the ground;
    The lane is guarded: nothing routs us but
    The villany of our fears.
  • Guiderius. [with Arviragus] Stand, stand, and fight! 3010
    [Re-enter POSTHUMUS LEONATUS, and seconds the]
    Britons: they rescue CYMBELINE, and exeunt. Then
    re-enter LUCIUS, and IACHIMO, with IMOGEN]
  • Caius Lucius. Away, boy, from the troops, and save thyself;
    For friends kill friends, and the disorder's such 3015
    As war were hoodwink'd.
  • Iachimo. 'Tis their fresh supplies.
  • Caius Lucius. It is a day turn'd strangely: or betimes
    Let's reinforce, or fly.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 3

Another part of the field.

      next scene .
---

[Enter POSTHUMUS LEONATUS and a British Lord]

  • Lord. Camest thou from where they made the stand?
  • 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, 3030
    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 3035
    To die with lengthen'd shame.
  • 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 3040
    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 3045
    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 3050
    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 3055
    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, 3060
    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 3065
    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 3070
    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: 3075
    Those that would die or ere resist are grown
    The mortal bugs o' the field.
  • 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 3080
    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.' 3085
  • 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. 3090
    You have put me into rhyme.
  • Lord. Farewell; you're angry.
  • Posthumus Leonatus. Still going?
    [Exit Lord]
    This is a lord! O noble misery, 3095
    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, 3100
    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, 3105
    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 3110
    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.

[Enter two British Captains and Soldiers]

  • First British Captain. Great Jupiter be praised! Lucius is taken.
    'Tis thought the old man and his sons were angels.
  • Posthumus Leonatus. A Roman,
    Who had not now been drooping here, if seconds
    Had answer'd him.
  • Second British Captain. Lay hands on him; a dog! 3125
    A leg of Rome shall not return to tell
    What crows have peck'd them here. He brags
    his service
    As if he were of note: bring him to the king.
    [Enter CYMBELINE, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS,] 3130
    PISANIO, Soldiers, Attendants, and Roman Captives.
    The Captains present POSTHUMUS LEONATUS to
    CYMBELINE, who delivers him over to a Gaoler:
    then exeunt omnes]
---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 4

A British prison.

      next scene .
---

[Enter POSTHUMUS LEONATUS and two Gaolers]

  • First Gaoler. You shall not now be stol'n, you have locks upon you;
    So graze as you find pasture.

[Exeunt Gaolers]

  • Posthumus Leonatus. Most welcome, bondage! for thou art away, 3140
    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 3145
    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? 3150
    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, 3155
    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: 3160
    '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! 3165
    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 3170
    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 3175
    Posthumus Leonatus round, as he lies sleeping]
  • Sicilius Leonatus. No more, thou thunder-master, show
    Thy spite on mortal flies:
    With Mars fall out, with Juno chide,
    That thy adulteries 3180
    Rates and revenges.
    Hath my poor boy done aught but well,
    Whose face I never saw?
    I died whilst in the womb he stay'd
    Attending nature's law: 3185
    Whose father then, as men report
    Thou orphans' father art,
    Thou shouldst have been, and shielded him
    From this earth-vexing smart.
  • Mother. Lucina lent not me her aid, 3190
    But took me in my throes;
    That from me was Posthumus ript,
    Came crying 'mongst his foes,
    A thing of pity!
  • Sicilius Leonatus. Great nature, like his ancestry, 3195
    Moulded the stuff so fair,
    That he deserved the praise o' the world,
    As great Sicilius' heir.
  • First Brother. When once he was mature for man,
    In Britain where was he 3200
    That could stand up his parallel;
    Or fruitful object be
    In eye of Imogen, that best
    Could deem his dignity?
  • Mother. With marriage wherefore was he mock'd, 3205
    To be exiled, and thrown
    From Leonati seat, and cast
    From her his dearest one,
    Sweet Imogen?
  • Sicilius Leonatus. Why did you suffer Iachimo, 3210
    Slight thing of Italy,
    To taint his nobler heart and brain
    With needless jealosy;
    And to become the geck and scorn
    O' th' other's villany? 3215
  • Second Brother. For this from stiller seats we came,
    Our parents and us twain,
    That striking in our country's cause
    Fell bravely and were slain,
    Our fealty and Tenantius' right 3220
    With honour to maintain.
  • First Brother. Like hardiment Posthumus hath
    To Cymbeline perform'd:
    Then, Jupiter, thou king of gods,
    Why hast thou thus adjourn'd 3225
    The graces for his merits due,
    Being all to dolours turn'd?
  • Sicilius Leonatus. Thy crystal window ope; look out;
    No longer exercise
    Upon a valiant race thy harsh 3230
    And potent injuries.
  • Mother. Since, Jupiter, our son is good,
    Take off his miseries.
  • Sicilius Leonatus. Peep through thy marble mansion; help;
    Or we poor ghosts will cry 3235
    To the shining synod of the rest
    Against thy deity.
  • Second Brother. [with First Brother] Help, Jupiter; or we appeal,
    And from thy justice fly.
    [Jupiter descends in thunder and lightning, sitting] 3240
    upon an eagle: he throws a thunderbolt. The
    Apparitions fall on their knees]
  • Jupiter. No more, you petty spirits of region low,
    Offend our hearing; hush! How dare you ghosts
    Accuse the thunderer, whose bolt, you know, 3245
    Sky-planted batters all rebelling coasts?
    Poor shadows of Elysium, hence, and rest
    Upon your never-withering banks of flowers:
    Be not with mortal accidents opprest;
    No care of yours it is; you know 'tis ours. 3250
    Whom best I love I cross; to make my gift,
    The more delay'd, delighted. Be content;
    Your low-laid son our godhead will uplift:
    His comforts thrive, his trials well are spent.
    Our Jovial star reign'd at his birth, and in 3255
    Our temple was he married. Rise, and fade.
    He shall be lord of lady Imogen,
    And happier much by his affliction made.
    This tablet lay upon his breast, wherein
    Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine: 3260
    and so, away: no further with your din
    Express impatience, lest you stir up mine.
    Mount, eagle, to my palace crystalline.

[Ascends]

  • Sicilius Leonatus. He came in thunder; his celestial breath 3265
    Was sulphurous to smell: the holy eagle
    Stoop'd as to foot us: his ascension is
    More sweet than our blest fields: his royal bird
    Prunes the immortal wing and cloys his beak,
    As when his god is pleased. 3270
  • All. Thanks, Jupiter!
  • Sicilius Leonatus. The marble pavement closes, he is enter'd
    His radiant root. Away! and, to be blest,
    Let us with care perform his great behest.

[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 3280
    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. 3285
    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. 3290
    [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, 3295
    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; 3300
    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.

[Re-enter First Gaoler]

  • 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 3310
    spectators, the dish pays the shot.
  • 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 3315
    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 3320
    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 3325
    counters; so the acquittance follows.
  • 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 3330
    would change places with his officer; for, look you,
    sir, you know not which way you shall go.
  • First Gaoler. Your death has eyes in 's head then; I have not seen
    him so pictured: you must either be directed by 3335
    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. 3340
  • 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.
  • First Gaoler. What an infinite mock is this, that a man should
    have the best use of eyes to see the way of 3345
    blindness! I am sure hanging's the way of winking.

[Enter a Messenger]

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

[Exeunt POSTHUMUS LEONATUS and Messenger]

  • First Gaoler. Unless a man would marry a gallows and beget young
    gibbets, I never saw one so prone. Yet, on my
    conscience, there are verier knaves desire to live, 3355
    for all he be a Roman: and there be some of them
    too that die against their wills; so should I, if I
    were one. I would we were all of one mind, and one
    mind good; O, there were desolation of gaolers and
    gallowses! I speak against my present profit, but 3360
    my wish hath a preferment in 't.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 5

Cymbeline’s tent.

       
---

[Enter CYMBELINE, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS,] [p]PISANIO, Lords, Officers, and Attendants]

  • Cymbeline. Stand by my side, you whom the gods have made 3365
    Preservers of my throne. Woe is my heart
    That the poor soldier that so richly fought,
    Whose rags shamed gilded arms, whose naked breast
    Stepp'd before larges of proof, cannot be found:
    He shall be happy that can find him, if 3370
    Our grace can make him so.
  • Belarius. I never saw
    Such noble fury in so poor a thing;
    Such precious deeds in one that promises nought
    But beggary and poor looks. 3375
  • Pisanio. He hath been search'd among the dead and living,
    But no trace of him.
  • Cymbeline. To my grief, I am
    The heir of his reward; 3380
    [To BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS]
    which I will add
    To you, the liver, heart and brain of Britain,
    By whom I grant she lives. 'Tis now the time
    To ask of whence you are. Report it. 3385
  • Belarius. Sir,
    In Cambria are we born, and gentlemen:
    Further to boast were neither true nor modest,
    Unless I add, we are honest.
  • Cymbeline. Bow your knees. 3390
    Arise my knights o' the battle: I create you
    Companions to our person and will fit you
    With dignities becoming your estates.
    [Enter CORNELIUS and Ladies]
    There's business in these faces. Why so sadly 3395
    Greet you our victory? you look like Romans,
    And not o' the court of Britain.
  • Cornelius. Hail, great king!
    To sour your happiness, I must report
    The queen is dead. 3400
  • Cymbeline. Who worse than a physician
    Would this report become? But I consider,
    By medicine life may be prolong'd, yet death
    Will seize the doctor too. How ended she?
  • Cornelius. With horror, madly dying, like her life, 3405
    Which, being cruel to the world, concluded
    Most cruel to herself. What she confess'd
    I will report, so please you: these her women
    Can trip me, if I err; who with wet cheeks
    Were present when she finish'd. 3410
  • Cornelius. First, she confess'd she never loved you, only
    Affected greatness got by you, not you:
    Married your royalty, was wife to your place;
    Abhorr'd your person. 3415
  • Cymbeline. She alone knew this;
    And, but she spoke it dying, I would not
    Believe her lips in opening it. Proceed.
  • Cornelius. Your daughter, whom she bore in hand to love
    With such integrity, she did confess 3420
    Was as a scorpion to her sight; whose life,
    But that her flight prevented it, she had
    Ta'en off by poison.
  • Cymbeline. O most delicate fiend!
    Who is 't can read a woman? Is there more? 3425
  • Cornelius. More, sir, and worse. She did confess she had
    For you a mortal mineral; which, being took,
    Should by the minute feed on life and lingering
    By inches waste you: in which time she purposed,
    By watching, weeping, tendance, kissing, to 3430
    O'ercome you with her show, and in time,
    When she had fitted you with her craft, to work
    Her son into the adoption of the crown:
    But, failing of her end by his strange absence,
    Grew shameless-desperate; open'd, in despite 3435
    Of heaven and men, her purposes; repented
    The evils she hatch'd were not effected; so
    Despairing died.
  • Cymbeline. Mine eyes
    Were not in fault, for she was beautiful;
    Mine ears, that heard her flattery; nor my heart,
    That thought her like her seeming; it had
    been vicious 3445
    To have mistrusted her: yet, O my daughter!
    That it was folly in me, thou mayst say,
    And prove it in thy feeling. Heaven mend all!
    [Enter LUCIUS, IACHIMO, the Soothsayer, and other]
    Roman Prisoners, guarded; POSTHUMUS LEONATUS 3450
    behind, and IMOGEN]
    Thou comest not, Caius, now for tribute that
    The Britons have razed out, though with the loss
    Of many a bold one; whose kinsmen have made suit
    That their good souls may be appeased with slaughter 3455
    Of you their captives, which ourself have granted:
    So think of your estate.
  • Caius Lucius. Consider, sir, the chance of war: the day
    Was yours by accident; had it gone with us,
    We should not, when the blood was cool, 3460
    have threaten'd
    Our prisoners with the sword. But since the gods
    Will have it thus, that nothing but our lives
    May be call'd ransom, let it come: sufficeth
    A Roman with a Roman's heart can suffer: 3465
    Augustus lives to think on't: and so much
    For my peculiar care. This one thing only
    I will entreat; my boy, a Briton born,
    Let him be ransom'd: never master had
    A page so kind, so duteous, diligent, 3470
    So tender over his occasions, true,
    So feat, so nurse-like: let his virtue join
    With my request, which I make bold your highness
    Cannot deny; he hath done no Briton harm,
    Though he have served a Roman: save him, sir, 3475
    And spare no blood beside.
  • Cymbeline. I have surely seen him:
    His favour is familiar to me. Boy,
    Thou hast look'd thyself into my grace,
    And art mine own. I know not why, wherefore, 3480
    To say 'live, boy:' ne'er thank thy master; live:
    And ask of Cymbeline what boon thou wilt,
    Fitting my bounty and thy state, I'll give it;
    Yea, though thou do demand a prisoner,
    The noblest ta'en. 3485
  • Imogen. I humbly thank your highness.
  • Caius Lucius. I do not bid thee beg my life, good lad;
    And yet I know thou wilt.
  • Imogen. No, no: alack,
    There's other work in hand: I see a thing 3490
    Bitter to me as death: your life, good master,
    Must shuffle for itself.
  • Caius Lucius. The boy disdains me,
    He leaves me, scorns me: briefly die their joys
    That place them on the truth of girls and boys. 3495
    Why stands he so perplex'd?
  • Cymbeline. What wouldst thou, boy?
    I love thee more and more: think more and more
    What's best to ask. Know'st him thou look'st on? speak,
    Wilt have him live? Is he thy kin? thy friend? 3500
  • Imogen. He is a Roman; no more kin to me
    Than I to your highness; who, being born your vassal,
    Am something nearer.
  • Imogen. I'll tell you, sir, in private, if you please 3505
    To give me hearing.
  • Cymbeline. Ay, with all my heart,
    And lend my best attention. What's thy name?
  • Cymbeline. Thou'rt my good youth, my page; 3510
    I'll be thy master: walk with me; speak freely.

[CYMBELINE and IMOGEN converse apart]

  • Belarius. Is not this boy revived from death?
  • Arviragus. One sand another
    Not more resembles that sweet rosy lad 3515
    Who died, and was Fidele. What think you?
  • Belarius. Peace, peace! see further; he eyes us not; forbear;
    Creatures may be alike: were 't he, I am sure
    He would have spoke to us. 3520
  • Belarius. Be silent; let's see further.
  • Pisanio. [Aside]. It is my mistress:
    Since she is living, let the time run on
    To good or bad. 3525

[CYMBELINE and IMOGEN come forward]

  • Cymbeline. Come, stand thou by our side;
    Make thy demand aloud.
    [To IACHIMO]
    Sir, step you forth; 3530
    Give answer to this boy, and do it freely;
    Or, by our greatness and the grace of it,
    Which is our honour, bitter torture shall
    Winnow the truth from falsehood. On, speak to him.
  • Imogen. My boon is, that this gentleman may render 3535
    Of whom he had this ring.
  • Cymbeline. That diamond upon your finger, say
    How came it yours?
  • Iachimo. Thou'lt torture me to leave unspoken that 3540
    Which, to be spoke, would torture thee.
  • Iachimo. I am glad to be constrain'd to utter that
    Which torments me to conceal. By villany
    I got this ring: 'twas Leonatus' jewel; 3545
    Whom thou didst banish; and—which more may
    grieve thee,
    As it doth me—a nobler sir ne'er lived
    'Twixt sky and ground. Wilt thou hear more, my lord?
  • Iachimo. That paragon, thy daughter,—
    For whom my heart drops blood, and my false spirits
    Quail to remember—Give me leave; I faint.
  • Cymbeline. My daughter! what of her? Renew thy strength:
    I had rather thou shouldst live while nature will 3555
    Than die ere I hear more: strive, man, and speak.
  • Iachimo. Upon a time,—unhappy was the clock
    That struck the hour!—it was in Rome,—accursed
    The mansion where!—'twas at a feast,—O, would
    Our viands had been poison'd, or at least 3560
    Those which I heaved to head!—the good Posthumus—
    What should I say? he was too good to be
    Where ill men were; and was the best of all
    Amongst the rarest of good ones,—sitting sadly,
    Hearing us praise our loves of Italy 3565
    For beauty that made barren the swell'd boast
    Of him that best could speak, for feature, laming
    The shrine of Venus, or straight-pight Minerva.
    Postures beyond brief nature, for condition,
    A shop of all the qualities that man 3570
    Loves woman for, besides that hook of wiving,
    Fairness which strikes the eye—
  • Cymbeline. I stand on fire:
    Come to the matter.
  • Iachimo. All too soon I shall, 3575
    Unless thou wouldst grieve quickly. This Posthumus,
    Most like a noble lord in love and one
    That had a royal lover, took his hint;
    And, not dispraising whom we praised,—therein
    He was as calm as virtue—he began 3580
    His mistress' picture; which by his tongue
    being made,
    And then a mind put in't, either our brags
    Were crack'd of kitchen-trolls, or his description
    Proved us unspeaking sots. 3585
  • 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 3590
    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 3595
    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, 3600
    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 3605
    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 3610
    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, 3615
    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 3620
    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 3625
    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. 3630
    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, 3635
    Imogen, Imogen!
  • Imogen. Peace, my lord; hear, hear—

[Striking her: she falls]

  • Pisanio. O, gentlemen, help!
    Mine and your mistress! O, my lord Posthumus!
    You ne'er kill'd Imogen til now. Help, help!
    Mine honour'd lady!
  • Cymbeline. If this be so, the gods do mean to strike me
    To death with mortal joy.
  • Pisanio. How fares thy mistress? 3650
  • Imogen. O, get thee from my sight;
    Thou gavest me poison: dangerous fellow, hence!
    Breathe not where princes are.
  • Pisanio. Lady, 3655
    The gods throw stones of sulphur on me, if
    That box I gave you was not thought by me
    A precious thing: I had it from the queen.
  • Cornelius. O gods!
    I left out one thing which the queen confess'd.
    Which must approve thee honest: 'If Pisanio
    Have,' said she, 'given his mistress that confection
    Which I gave him for cordial, she is served 3665
    As I would serve a rat.'
  • Cornelius. The queen, sir, very oft importuned me
    To temper poisons for her, still pretending
    The satisfaction of her knowledge only 3670
    In killing creatures vile, as cats and dogs,
    Of no esteem: I, dreading that her purpose
    Was of more danger, did compound for her
    A certain stuff, which, being ta'en, would cease
    The present power of life, but in short time 3675
    All offices of nature should again
    Do their due functions. Have you ta'en of it?
  • Imogen. Most like I did, for I was dead.
  • Belarius. My boys,
    There was our error. 3680
  • Imogen. Why did you throw your wedded lady from you?
    Think that you are upon a rock; and now
    Throw me again.

[Embracing him]

  • Cymbeline. How now, my flesh, my child!
    What, makest thou me a dullard in this act?
    Wilt thou not speak to me? 3690
  • Imogen. [Kneeling] Your blessing, sir.
  • Belarius. [To GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS] Though you did love
    this youth, I blame ye not:
    You had a motive for't.
  • Cymbeline. My tears that fall 3695
    Prove holy water on thee! Imogen,
    Thy mother's dead.
  • Imogen. I am sorry for't, my lord.
  • Cymbeline. O, she was nought; and long of her it was
    That we meet here so strangely: but her son 3700
    Is gone, we know not how nor where.
  • Pisanio. My lord,
    Now fear is from me, I'll speak troth. Lord Cloten,
    Upon my lady's missing, came to me
    With his sword drawn; foam'd at the mouth, and swore, 3705
    If I discover'd not which way she was gone,
    It was my instant death. By accident,
    had a feigned letter of my master's
    Then in my pocket; which directed him
    To seek her on the mountains near to Milford; 3710
    Where, in a frenzy, in my master's garments,
    Which he enforced from me, away he posts
    With unchaste purpose and with oath to violate
    My lady's honour: what became of him
    I further know not. 3715
  • Guiderius. Let me end the story:
    I slew him there.
  • Cymbeline. Marry, the gods forfend!
    I would not thy good deeds should from my lips
    Pluck a bard sentence: prithee, valiant youth, 3720
    Deny't again.
  • Guiderius. A most incivil one: the wrongs he did me
    Were nothing prince-like; for he did provoke me 3725
    With language that would make me spurn the sea,
    If it could so roar to me: I cut off's head;
    And am right glad he is not standing here
    To tell this tale of mine.
  • Cymbeline. I am sorry for thee: 3730
    By thine own tongue thou art condemn'd, and must
    Endure our law: thou'rt dead.
  • Imogen. That headless man
    I thought had been my lord.
  • Cymbeline. Bind the offender, 3735
    And take him from our presence.
  • Belarius. Stay, sir king:
    This man is better than the man he slew,
    As well descended as thyself; and hath
    More of thee merited than a band of Clotens 3740
    Had ever scar for.
    [To the Guard]
    Let his arms alone;
    They were not born for bondage.
  • Cymbeline. Why, old soldier, 3745
    Wilt thou undo the worth thou art unpaid for,
    By tasting of our wrath? How of descent
    As good as we?
  • Belarius. We will die all three:
    But I will prove that two on's are as good
    As I have given out him. My sons, I must,
    For mine own part, unfold a dangerous speech,
    Though, haply, well for you. 3755
  • Belarius. Have at it then, by leave.
    Thou hadst, great king, a subject who
    Was call'd Belarius. 3760
  • Cymbeline. What of him? he is
    A banish'd traitor.
  • Belarius. He it is that hath
    Assumed this age; indeed a banish'd man;
    I know not how a traitor. 3765
  • Cymbeline. Take him hence:
    The whole world shall not save him.
  • Belarius. Not too hot:
    First pay me for the nursing of thy sons;
    And let it be confiscate all, so soon 3770
    As I have received it.
  • Belarius. I am too blunt and saucy: here's my knee:
    Ere I arise, I will prefer my sons;
    Then spare not the old father. Mighty sir, 3775
    These two young gentlemen, that call me father
    And think they are my sons, are none of mine;
    They are the issue of your loins, my liege,
    And blood of your begetting.
  • Belarius. So sure as you your father's. I, old Morgan,
    Am that Belarius whom you sometime banish'd:
    Your pleasure was my mere offence, my punishment
    Itself, and all my treason; that I suffer'd
    Was all the harm I did. These gentle princes— 3785
    For such and so they are—these twenty years
    Have I train'd up: those arts they have as I
    Could put into them; my breeding was, sir, as
    Your highness knows. Their nurse, Euriphile,
    Whom for the theft I wedded, stole these children 3790
    Upon my banishment: I moved her to't,
    Having received the punishment before,
    For that which I did then: beaten for loyalty
    Excited me to treason: their dear loss,
    The more of you 'twas felt, the more it shaped 3795
    Unto my end of stealing them. But, gracious sir,
    Here are your sons again; and I must lose
    Two of the sweet'st companions in the world.
    The benediction of these covering heavens
    Fall on their heads like dew! for they are worthy 3800
    To inlay heaven with stars.
  • Cymbeline. Thou weep'st, and speak'st.
    The service that you three have done is more
    Unlike than this thou tell'st. I lost my children:
    If these be they, I know not how to wish 3805
    A pair of worthier sons.
  • Belarius. Be pleased awhile.
    This gentleman, whom I call Polydore,
    Most worthy prince, as yours, is true Guiderius:
    This gentleman, my Cadwal, Arviragus, 3810
    Your younger princely son; he, sir, was lapp'd
    In a most curious mantle, wrought by the hand
    Of his queen mother, which for more probation
    I can with ease produce.
  • Cymbeline. Guiderius had 3815
    Upon his neck a mole, a sanguine star;
    It was a mark of wonder.
  • Belarius. This is he;
    Who hath upon him still that natural stamp:
    It was wise nature's end in the donation, 3820
    To be his evidence now.
  • Cymbeline. O, what, am I
    A mother to the birth of three? Ne'er mother
    Rejoiced deliverance more. Blest pray you be,
    That, after this strange starting from your orbs, 3825
    may reign in them now! O Imogen,
    Thou hast lost by this a kingdom.
  • Imogen. No, my lord;
    I have got two worlds by 't. O my gentle brothers,
    Have we thus met? O, never say hereafter 3830
    But I am truest speaker you call'd me brother,
    When I was but your sister; I you brothers,
    When ye were so indeed.
  • Guiderius. And at first meeting loved;
    Continued so, until we thought he died.
  • Cornelius. By the queen's dram she swallow'd.
  • Cymbeline. O rare instinct!
    When shall I hear all through? This fierce 3840
    abridgement
    Hath to it circumstantial branches, which
    Distinction should be rich in. Where? how lived You?
    And when came you to serve our Roman captive?
    How parted with your brothers? how first met them? 3845
    Why fled you from the court? and whither? These,
    And your three motives to the battle, with
    I know not how much more, should be demanded;
    And all the other by-dependencies,
    From chance to chance: but nor the time nor place 3850
    Will serve our long inter'gatories. See,
    Posthumus anchors upon Imogen,
    And she, like harmless lightning, throws her eye
    On him, her brother, me, her master, hitting
    Each object with a joy: the counterchange 3855
    Is severally in all. Let's quit this ground,
    And smoke the temple with our sacrifices.
    [To BELARIUS]
    Thou art my brother; so we'll hold thee ever.
  • Imogen. You are my father too, and did relieve me, 3860
    To see this gracious season.
  • Cymbeline. All o'erjoy'd,
    Save these in bonds: let them be joyful too,
    For they shall taste our comfort.
  • Imogen. My good master, 3865
    I will yet do you service.
  • Cymbeline. The forlorn soldier, that so nobly fought,
    He would have well becomed this place, and graced
    The thankings of a king. 3870
  • 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 3875
    Have made you finish.
  • 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; 3880
    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, 3885
    And deal with others better.
  • Cymbeline. Nobly doom'd!
    We'll learn our freeness of a son-in-law;
    Pardon's the word to all.
  • Arviragus. You holp us, sir, 3890
    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, 3895
    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 3900
    His skill in the construction.
  • Soothsayer. [Reads] 'When as a lion's whelp shall, to himself 3905
    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 3910
    his miseries, Britain be fortunate and flourish in
    peace and plenty.'
    Thou, Leonatus, art the lion's whelp;
    The fit and apt construction of thy name,
    Being Leonatus, doth import so much. 3915
    [To CYMBELINE]
    The piece of tender air, thy virtuous daughter,
    Which we call 'mollis aer;' and 'mollis aer'
    We term it 'mulier:' which 'mulier' I divine
    Is this most constant wife; who, even now, 3920
    Answering the letter of the oracle,
    Unknown to you, unsought, were clipp'd about
    With this most tender air.
  • Soothsayer. The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline, 3925
    Personates thee: and thy lopp'd branches point
    Thy two sons forth; who, by Belarius stol'n,
    For many years thought dead, are now revived,
    To the majestic cedar join'd, whose issue
    Promises Britain peace and plenty. 3930
  • Cymbeline. Well
    My peace we will begin. And, Caius Lucius,
    Although the victor, we submit to Caesar,
    And to the Roman empire; promising
    To pay our wonted tribute, from the which 3935
    We were dissuaded by our wicked queen;
    Whom heavens, in justice, both on her and hers,
    Have laid most heavy hand.
  • Soothsayer. The fingers of the powers above do tune
    The harmony of this peace. The vision 3940
    Which I made known to Lucius, ere the stroke
    Of this yet scarce-cold battle, at this instant
    Is full accomplish'd; for the Roman eagle,
    From south to west on wing soaring aloft,
    Lessen'd herself, and in the beams o' the sun 3945
    So vanish'd: which foreshow'd our princely eagle,
    The imperial Caesar, should again unite
    His favour with the radiant Cymbeline,
    Which shines here in the west.
  • Cymbeline. Laud we the gods; 3950
    And let our crooked smokes climb to their nostrils
    From our blest altars. Publish we this peace
    To all our subjects. Set we forward: let
    A Roman and a British ensign wave
    Friendly together: so through Lud's-town march: 3955
    And in the temple of great Jupiter
    Our peace we'll ratify; seal it with feasts.
    Set on there! Never was a war did cease,
    Ere bloody hands were wash'd, with such a peace.

[Exeunt]

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