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Cymbeline, King of Britain

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Act I, Scene 3

A room in Cymbeline’s palace.



  • 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.