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Cymbeline, King of Britain

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Act II, Scene 5

Another room in Philario’s house.



  • 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.