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Cymbeline, King of Britain

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Act III, Scene 2

Another room in the palace.


[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?
    '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!
    '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,
    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:
    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.