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Cymbeline, King of Britain

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Act II, Scene 3

An ante-chamber adjoining Imogen’s apartments.


[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
    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
    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.
    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!


  • 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.


  • 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.


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