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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

Part 11 out of 63

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more- a punishment too.
PHILARIO. Gentlemen, enough of this. It came in too suddenly; 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 th'
approbation of what I have spoke!
POSTHUMUS. What lady would you choose to assail?
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
that honour of hers which you imagine so reserv'd.
POSTHUMUS. I will wage against your gold, gold to it. My ring I
hold dear as my finger; 'tis part of it.
IACHIMO. You are a friend, and therein the wiser. If you buy
ladies' flesh at a million a dram, you cannot preserve it from
tainting. But I see you have some religion in you, that you fear.
POSTHUMUS. 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 what's
spoken, I swear.
POSTHUMUS. 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.
PHILARIO. I will have it no lay.
IACHIMO. By the gods, it is one. If I bring you no sufficient
testimony that I have enjoy'd the dearest bodily part of your
mistress, my ten thousand ducats are yours; so is your diamond
too. If I come off, 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. I embrace these conditions; let us have articles betwixt
us. Only, thus far you shall answer: if you make your voyage upon
her, and give me directly to understand you have prevail'd, I am
no further your enemy- she is not worth our debate; if she remain
unseduc'd, you not making it appear otherwise, for your ill
opinion and th' 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 Britain, lest the
bargain should catch cold and starve. I will fetch my gold and
have our two wagers recorded.
FRENCHMAN. Will this hold, think you?
PHILARIO. Signior Iachimo will not from it. Pray let us follow 'em.

Britain. CYMBELINE'S palace


QUEEN. Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those flowers;
Make haste; who has the note of them?
LADY. I, madam.
QUEEN. Dispatch. Exeunt LADIES
Now, Master Doctor, have you brought those drugs?
CORNELIUS. Pleaseth your Highness, ay. Here they are, madam.
[Presenting a box]
But I beseech your Grace, without offence-
My conscience bids me ask- wherefore you have
Commanded of me these 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
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
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
Allayments to their act, and by them gather
Their several virtues and effects.
CORNELIUS. Your Highness
Shall from this practice but make hard your heart;
Besides, the seeing these effects will be
Both noisome and infectious.
QUEEN. O, content thee.


[Aside] Here comes a flattering rascal; upon him
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;
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 ling'ring poisons. I do know her spirit,
And will not trust one of her malice with
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
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.
QUEEN. No further service, Doctor,
Until I send for thee.
CORNELIUS. I humbly take my leave. Exit
QUEEN. Weeps she still, say'st thou? Dost thou think in time
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
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 comes to
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]
Thou tak'st 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 prithee take it;
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,
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.
Think on my words. Exit PISANIO
A sly and constant knave,
Not to be shak'd; the agent for his master,
And the remembrancer of her to hold
The hand-fast to her lord. I have given him that
Which, if he take, shall quite unpeople her
Of leigers for her sweet; and which she after,
Except she bend her humour, shall be assur'd
To taste of too.


So, so. Well done, well done.
The violets, cowslips, and the primroses,
Bear to my closet. Fare thee well, Pisanio;
Think on my words. 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

Britain. The palace

Enter IMOGEN alone

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
Vexations of it! Had I been thief-stol'n,
As my two brothers, happy! but most miserable
Is the desire that's glorious. Blessed be those,
How mean soe'er, that have their honest wills,
Which seasons comfort. Who may this be? Fie!


PISANIO. Madam, a noble gentleman of Rome
Comes from my lord with letters.
IACHIMO. Change you, madam?
The worthy Leonatus is in safety,
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!
If she be furnish'd with a mind so rare,
She is alone th' 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;
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.'

So far I read aloud;
But even the very middle of my heart
Is warm'd by th' rest and takes it thankfully.
You are as welcome, worthy sir, as I
Have words to bid you; and shall find it so
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
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?
IACHIMO. It cannot be i' th' eye, for apes and monkeys,
'Twixt two such shes, would chatter this way and
Contemn with mows the other; nor i' th' judgment,
For idiots in this case of favour would
Be wisely definite; nor i' th' appetite;
Sluttery, to such neat excellence oppos'd,
Should make desire vomit emptiness,
Not so allur'd to feed.
IMOGEN. What is the matter, trow?
IACHIMO. The cloyed will-
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?
IACHIMO. Thanks, madam; well.- Beseech you, sir,
Desire my man's abode where I did leave him.
He's strange and peevish.
PISANIO. I was going, sir,
To give him welcome. Exit
IMOGEN. Continues well my lord? His health beseech you?
IACHIMO. Well, madam.
IMOGEN. Is he dispos'd to mirth? I hope he is.
IACHIMO. Exceeding pleasant; none a stranger there
So merry and so gamesome. He is call'd
The Britain reveller.
IMOGEN. When he was here
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
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,
What woman is, yea, what she cannot choose
But must be- will's free hours languish for
Assured bondage?'
IMOGEN. Will my lord say so?
IACHIMO. Ay, madam, with his eyes in flood with laughter.
It is a recreation to be by
And hear him mock the Frenchman. But heavens know
Some men are much to blame.
IMOGEN. Not he, I hope.
IACHIMO. Not he; but yet heaven's bounty towards him might
Be us'd 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?
IACHIMO. Two creatures heartily.
IMOGEN. Am I one, sir?
You look on me: what wreck discern you in me
Deserves your pity?
IACHIMO. Lamentable! What,
To hide me from the radiant sun and solace
I' th' dungeon by a snuff?
IMOGEN. I pray you, sir,
Deliver with more openness your answers
To my demands. Why do you pity me?
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
Something of me, or what concerns me; pray you-
Since doubting 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
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 th' oath of loyalty; this object, which
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
With labour; then by-peeping in an eye
Base and illustrious 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.
IMOGEN. My lord, I fear,
Has forgot Britain.
IACHIMO. And himself. Not I
Inclin'd to this intelligence pronounce
The beggary of his change; but 'tis your graces
That from my mutest conscience to my tongue
Charms this report out.
IMOGEN. Let me hear no more.
IACHIMO. O dearest soul, your cause doth strike my heart
With pity that doth make me sick! A lady
So fair, and fasten'd to an empery,
Would make the great'st king double, to be partner'd
With tomboys hir'd with that self exhibition
Which your own coffers yield! with diseas'd ventures
That play with all infirmities for gold
Which rottenness can lend nature! such boil'd stuff
As well might poison poison! Be reveng'd;
Or she that bore you was no queen, and you
Recoil from your great stock.
IMOGEN. Reveng'd?
How should I be reveng'd? 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 reveng'd?
IACHIMO. Should he make me
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,
And will continue fast to your affection,
Still close as sure.
IMOGEN. What ho, Pisanio!
IACHIMO. Let me my service tender on your lips.
IMOGEN. Away! I do condemn mine ears that have
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
Solicits 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
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
The credit that thy lady hath of thee
Deserves thy trust, and thy most perfect goodness
Her assur'd credit. Blessed live you long,
A lady to the worthiest sir that ever
Country call'd his! and you his mistress, only
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
That he enchants societies into him,
Half all men's hearts are his.
IMOGEN. You make amends.
IACHIMO. He sits 'mongst men like a descended god:
He hath a kind of honour sets him of
More than a mortal seeming. Be not angry,
Most mighty Princess, that I have adventur'd
To try your taking of a false report, which hath
Honour'd with confirmation your great judgment
In the election of a sir so rare,
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 pow'r i' th' court for yours.
IACHIMO. My humble thanks. I had almost forgot
T' entreat your Grace but in a small request,
And yet of moment too, for it concerns
Your lord; myself and other noble friends
Are partners in the business.
IMOGEN. Pray what is't?
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
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?
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,
Attended by my men. I will make bold
To send them to you only for this night;
I must aboard to-morrow.
IMOGEN. O, no, no.
IACHIMO. Yes, I beseech; or I shall short my word
By length'ning 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!
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 th' tender of our present.
IMOGEN. I will write.
Send your trunk to me; it shall safe be kept
And truly yielded you. You're very welcome. Exeunt


Britain. Before CYMBELINE'S palace

Enter CLOTEN and the two LORDS

CLOTEN. Was there ever man had such luck! When I kiss'd 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
FIRST LORD. What got he by that? You have broke his pate with your
SECOND LORD. [Aside] If his wit had been like him that broke it, it
would have run all out.
CLOTEN. When a gentleman is dispos'd to swear, it is not for 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? Would he had been
one of my rank!
SECOND LORD. [Aside] To have smell'd like a fool.
CLOTEN. I am not vex'd more at anything in th' 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 mother. Every jackslave 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.
CLOTEN. Sayest thou?
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.
SECOND LORD. Ay, it is fit for your lordship only.
CLOTEN. Why, so I say.
FIRST LORD. Did you hear of a stranger that's come to court
CLOTEN. A stranger, and I not known on't?
SECOND LORD. [Aside] He's a strange fellow himself, and knows it
FIRST LORD. There's an Italian come, and, 'tis thought, one of
Leonatus' friends.
CLOTEN. Leonatus? A banish'd rascal; and he's another, whatsoever
he be. Who told you of this stranger?
FIRST LORD. One of your lordship's pages.
CLOTEN. Is it fit I went to look upon him? Is there no derogation
SECOND LORD. You cannot derogate, my lord.
CLOTEN. Not easily, I think.
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.
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,
And leave eighteen. Alas, poor princess,
Thou divine Imogen, what thou endur'st,
Betwixt a father by thy step-dame govern'd,
A mother hourly coining plots, a wooer
More hateful than the foul expulsion is
Of thy dear husband, than that horrid act
Of the divorce he'd make! The heavens hold firm
The walls of thy dear honour, keep unshak'd
That temple, thy fair mind, that thou mayst stand
T' enjoy thy banish'd lord and this great land! Exit

Britain. IMOGEN'S bedchamber in CYMBELINE'S palace; a trunk in one corner

Enter IMOGEN in her bed, and a LADY attending

IMOGEN. Who's there? My woman? Helen?
LADY. Please you, madam.
IMOGEN. What hour is it?
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;
And if thou canst awake by four o' th' clock,
I prithee call me. Sleep hath seiz'd me wholly. Exit LADY
To your protection I commend me, gods.
From fairies and the tempters of the night
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
The chastity he wounded. Cytherea,
How bravely thou becom'st 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
Perfumes the chamber thus. The flame o' th' taper
Bows toward her and would under-peep her lids
To see th' enclosed lights, now canopied
Under these windows white and azure, lac'd
With blue of heaven's own tinct. But my design
To note the chamber. I will write all down:
Such and such pictures; there the window; such
Th' adornment of her bed; the arras, figures-
Why, such and such; and the contents o' th' story.
Ah, but some natural notes about her body
Above ten thousand meaner movables
Would testify, t' 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;
[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 th' madding of her lord. On her left breast
A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
I' th' 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?
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 th' trunk again, and shut the spring of it.
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! Exit into the trunk

CYMBELINE'S palace. An ante-chamber adjoining IMOGEN'S apartments


FIRST LORD. Your lordship is the most patient man in loss, the most
coldest that ever turn'd up ace.
CLOTEN. It would make any man cold to lose.
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?
FIRST LORD. Day, my lord.
CLOTEN. I would this music would come. I am advised to give her
music a mornings; they say it will penetrate.

Enter musicians

Come on, tune. If you can penetrate her with your 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.


Hark, hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chalic'd flow'rs that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes.
With everything that pretty bin,
My lady sweet, arise;
Arise, arise!

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
horsehairs and calves' guts, nor the voice of unpaved eunuch to
boot, can never amend. Exeunt musicians


SECOND LORD. Here comes the King.
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.- 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 assail'd her with musics, but she vouchsafes no
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 th' King,
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
You were inspir'd 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.


MESSENGER. So like you, sir, ambassadors from Rome;
The one is Caius Lucius.
CYMBELINE. A worthy fellow,
Albeit he comes on angry purpose now;
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,
Attend the Queen and us; we shall have need
T' 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. By your leave, ho! [Knocks]
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
Diana's rangers false themselves, yield up
Their deer to th' stand o' th' 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
One of her women lawyer to me, for
I yet not understand the case myself.
By your leave. [Knocks]

Enter a LADY

LADY. Who's there that knocks?
CLOTEN. A gentleman.
LADY. No more?
CLOTEN. Yes, and a gentlewoman's son.
LADY. That's more
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?
To keep her chamber.
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!


CLOTEN. Good morrow, fairest sister. Your sweet hand.
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,
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.
CLOTEN. This is no answer.
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
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?
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,
That I, which know my heart, do here pronounce,
By th' 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.
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' th' court- it is no contract, none.
And though it be allowed 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-figur'd knot,
Yet you are curb'd from that enlargement by
The consequence o' th' crown, and must not foil
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!
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 styl'd
The under-hangman of his kingdom, and hated
For being preferr'd so well.
CLOTEN. The south fog rot him!
IMOGEN. He never can meet more mischance than come
To be but nam'd of thee. His mean'st garment
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 garments'! Now the devil-
IMOGEN. To Dorothy my woman hie thee presently.
CLOTEN. 'His garment'!
IMOGEN. I am sprited with a fool;
Frighted, and ang'red worse. Go bid my woman
Search for a jewel that too casually
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.
I hope it be not gone to tell my lord
That I kiss aught but he.
PISANIO. 'Twill not be lost.
IMOGEN. I hope so. Go and search. Exit PISANIO
CLOTEN. You have abus'd 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.
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 th' worst of discontent. Exit
CLOTEN. I'll be reveng'd.
'His mean'st garment'! Well. Exit

Rome. PHILARIO'S house


POSTHUMUS. 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. Not any; but abide the change of time,
Quake in the present winter's state, and wish
That warmer days would come. In these fear'd hopes
I barely gratify your love; they failing,
I must die much your debtor.
PHILARIO. Your very goodness and your company
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 th' arrearages,
Or look upon our Romans, whose remembrance
Is yet fresh in their grief.
POSTHUMUS. 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
In our not-fearing Britain than have tidings
Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen
Are men more order'd than when Julius Caesar
Smil'd at their lack of skill, but found their courage
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.


PHILARIO. See! Iachimo!
POSTHUMUS. The swiftest harts have posted you by land,
And winds of all the comers kiss'd your sails,
To make your vessel nimble.
PHILARIO. Welcome, sir.
POSTHUMUS. 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. And therewithal the best; or let her beauty
Look through a casement to allure false hearts,
And be false with them.
IACHIMO. Here are letters for you.
POSTHUMUS. Their tenour good, I trust.
IACHIMO. 'Tis very like.
PHILARIO. Was Caius Lucius in the Britain court
When you were there?
IACHIMO. He was expected then,
But not approach'd.
POSTHUMUS. All is well yet.
Sparkles this stone as it was wont, or is't not
Too dull for your good wearing?
IACHIMO. If I have lost it,
I should have lost the worth of it in gold.
I'll make a journey twice as far t' enjoy
A second night of such sweet shortness which
Was mine in Britain; for the ring is won.
POSTHUMUS. The stone's too hard to come by.
IACHIMO. Not a whit,
Your lady being so easy.
POSTHUMUS. 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
The knowledge of your mistress home, I grant
We were to question farther; 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
By both your wills.
POSTHUMUS. 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
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
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,
Where I confess I slept not, but profess
Had that was well worth watching-it was hang'd
With tapestry of silk and silver; the story,
Proud Cleopatra when she met her Roman
And Cydnus swell'd above the banks, or for
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-
POSTHUMUS. This is true;
And this you might have heard of here, by me
Or by some other.
IACHIMO. More particulars
Must justify my knowledge.
POSTHUMUS. So they must,
Or do your honour injury.
IACHIMO. The chimney
Is south the chamber, and the chimneypiece
Chaste Dian bathing. Never saw I figures
So likely to report themselves. The cutter
Was as another nature, dumb; outwent her,
Motion and breath left out.
POSTHUMUS. This is a thing
Which you might from relation likewise reap,
Being, as it is, much spoke of.
IACHIMO. The roof o' th' chamber
With golden cherubins is fretted; her andirons-
I had forgot them- were two winking Cupids
Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely
Depending on their brands.
POSTHUMUS. 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
The wager you have laid.
IACHIMO. Then, if you can, [Shows the bracelet]
Be pale. I beg but leave to air this jewel. See!
And now 'tis up again. It must be married
To that your diamond; I'll keep them.
Once more let me behold it. Is it that
Which I left with her?
IACHIMO. Sir- I thank her- that.
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 priz'd it once.
POSTHUMUS. May be she pluck'd it of
To send it me.
IACHIMO. She writes so to you, doth she?
POSTHUMUS. O, no, no, no! 'tis true. Here, take this too;
[Gives the ring]
It is a basilisk unto mine eye,
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.
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 her women, being corrupted
Hath stol'n it from her?
POSTHUMUS. 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 stol'n.
IACHIMO. By Jupiter, I had it from her arm!
POSTHUMUS. 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 induc'd to steal it!
And by a stranger! No, he hath enjoy'd 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
Divide themselves between you!
PHILARIO. Sir, be patient;
This is not strong enough to be believ'd
Of one persuaded well of.
POSTHUMUS. Never talk on't;
She hath been colted by him.
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,
I kiss'd it; and it gave me present hunger
To feed again, though full. You do remember
This stain upon her?
POSTHUMUS. Ay, and it doth confirm
Another stain, as big as hell can hold,
Were there no more but it.
IACHIMO. Will you hear more?
POSTHUMUS. Spare your arithmetic; never count the turns.
Once, and a million!
IACHIMO. I'll be sworn-
POSTHUMUS. 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.
IACHIMO. I'll deny nothing.
POSTHUMUS. O that I had her here to tear her limb-meal!
I will go there and do't, i' th' court, before
Her father. I'll do something- Exit
PHILARIO. Quite besides
The government of patience! You have won.
Let's follow him and pervert the present wrath
He hath against himself.
IACHIMO. With all my heart. Exeunt

Rome. Another room in PHILARIO'S house


POSTHUMUS. 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
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,
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- was't not?
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
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;
Ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain,
Nice longing, slanders, mutability,
All faults that man may name, nay, that hell knows,
Why, hers, in part or all; but rather all;
For even to vice
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:
The very devils cannot plague them better. Exit


Britain. A hall in CYMBELINE'S palace

Enter in state, CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN, and LORDS at one door,
and at another CAIUS LUCIUS and attendants

CYMBELINE. Now say, what would Augustus Caesar with us?
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,
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.
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
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
The natural bravery of your isle, which stands
As Neptune's park, ribb'd and pal'd in
With rocks unscalable and roaring waters,
With sands that will not bear your enemies' boats
But suck them up to th' top-mast. A kind of conquest
Caesar made here; but made not here his brag
Of 'came, and saw, and overcame.' With shame-
The first that ever touch'd him- he was carried
From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping-
Poor ignorant baubles!- on our terrible seas,
Like egg-shells mov'd upon their surges, crack'd
As easily 'gainst our rocks; for joy whereof
The fam'd 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.
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.
CYMBELINE. Son, let your mother end.
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 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. Caesar's ambition-
Which swell'd so much that it did almost stretch
The sides o' th' world- against all colour here
Did put the yoke upon's; which to shake of
Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon
Ourselves to be.
CLOTEN. We do.
CYMBELINE. Say then to Caesar,
Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which
Ordain'd our laws- whose use the sword of Caesar
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
Himself a king.
LUCIUS. I am sorry, Cymbeline,
That I am to pronounce Augustus Caesar-
Caesar, that hath moe kings his servants than
Thyself domestic officers- thine enemy.
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.
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
Their liberties are now in arms, a precedent
Which not to read would show the Britons cold;
So Caesar shall not find them.
LUCIUS. Let proof speak.
CLOTEN. His majesty bids you welcome. Make 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 for you; and there's an end.
LUCIUS. So, sir.
CYMBELINE. I know your master's pleasure, and he mine;
All the remain is, welcome. Exeunt

Britain. Another room in CYMBELINE'S palace

Enter PISANIO reading of a letter

PISANIO. How? of adultery? Wherefore write you not
What monsters her accuse? Leonatus!
O master, what a strange infection
Is fall'n into thy ear! What false Italian-
As poisonous-tongu'd 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!
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
Let me be counted serviceable. How look I
That I should seem to lack humanity
So much as this fact comes to? [Reads] 'Do't. The letter
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 fedary for this act, and look'st
So virgin-like without? Lo, here she comes.


I am ignorant in what I am commanded.
IMOGEN. How now, Pisanio!
PISANIO. Madam, here is a letter from my lord.
IMOGEN. Who? thy lord? That is my lord- Leonatus?
O, learn'd indeed were that astronomer
That knew the stars as I his characters-
He'd 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
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
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 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 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
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-
O, let me 'bate!- but not like me, yet long'st,
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 th' smothering of the sense- how far it is
To this same blessed Milford. And by th' way
Tell me how Wales was made so happy as
T' 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.
Why should excuse be born or ere 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,
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 riding wagers
Where horses have been nimbler than the sands
That run i' th' clock's behalf. But this is fool'ry.
Go bid my woman feign a sickness; say
She'll home to her father; and provide me presently
A riding suit, no costlier than would fit
A franklin's huswife.
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
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

Wales. A mountainous country with a cave

Enter from the cave BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS

BELARIUS. A goodly day not to keep house with such
Whose roof's as low as ours! Stoop, boys; this gate
Instructs you how t' adore the heavens, and bows you
To a morning's holy office. The gates of monarchs
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' th' rock, yet use thee not so hardly
As prouder livers do.
GUIDERIUS. Hail, heaven!
ARVIRAGUS. Hail, heaven!
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,
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
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 check,
Richer than doing nothing for a bribe,
Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk:
Such gain the cap of him that makes him fine,
Yet keeps his book uncross'd. No life to ours!
GUIDERIUS. Out of your proof you speak. We, poor unfledg'd,
Have never wing'd from view o' th' 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
A cell of ignorance, travelling abed,
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
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.
Our valour is to chase what flies; our cage
We make a choir, as doth the prison'd bird,
And sing our bondage freely.
BELARIUS. How you speak!
Did you but know the city's usuries,
And felt them knowingly- the art o' th' court,
As hard to leave as keep, whose top to climb
Is certain falling, or so slipp'ry that
The fear's as bad as falling; the toil o' th' war,
A pain that only seems to seek out danger
I' th'name of fame and honour, which dies i' th'search,
And hath as oft a sland'rous epitaph
As record of fair act; nay, many times,
Doth ill deserve by doing well; what's worse-
Must curtsy 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 lov'd me;
And when a soldier was the theme, my name
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.
GUIDERIUS. Uncertain favour!
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
Follow'd my banishment, and this twenty years
This rock and these demesnes have been my world,
Where I have liv'd at honest freedom, paid
More pious debts to heaven than in all
The fore-end of my time. But up to th' mountains!
This is not hunters' language. He that strikes
The venison first shall be the lord o' th' 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.
How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature!
These boys know little they are sons to th' King,
Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive.
They think they are mine; and though train'd up thus meanly
I' th' 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,
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,
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
Strikes life into my speech, and shows much more
His own conceiving. Hark, the game is rous'd!
O Cymbeline, heaven and my conscience knows
Thou didst unjustly banish me! Whereon,
At three and two years old, I stole these babes,
Thinking to bar thee of succession as
Thou refts me of my lands. Euriphile,
Thou wast their nurse; they took thee for their mother,
And every day do honour to her grave.
Myself, Belarius, that am Morgan call'd,
They take for natural father. The game is up. Exit

Wales, near Milford Haven


IMOGEN. Thou told'st me, when we came from horse, the place
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 th' inward of thee? One but painted thus
Would be interpreted a thing perplex'd
Beyond self-explication. Put thyself
Into a haviour of less fear, ere wildness
Vanquish my staider senses. What's the matter?
Why tender'st thou that paper to me with
A look untender! If't be summer news,
Smile to't before; if winterly, thou need'st
But keep that count'nance 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
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.
IMOGEN. [Reads] 'Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath play'd 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, 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 it is done, thou art
the pander 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
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?
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,
And cry myself awake? That's false to's bed,
Is it?
PISANIO. Alas, good lady!
IMOGEN. I false! Thy conscience witness! Iachimo,
Thou didst accuse him of incontinency;
Thou then look'dst like a villain; now, methinks,
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 th' walls
I must be ripp'd. To pieces with me! O,
Men's vows are women's traitors! All good seeming,
By thy revolt, O husband, shall be thought
Put on for villainy; not born where't grows,
But worn a bait for ladies.
PISANIO. Good madam, hear me.
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:
Goodly and gallant shall be false and perjur'd
From thy great fail. Come, fellow, be thou honest;
Do thou thy master's bidding; when thou seest him,
A little witness my obedience. Look!
I draw the sword myself; take it, and hit
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,
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
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?
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 are betray'd
Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor
Stands in worse case of woe. And thou, Posthumus,
That didst set up my disobedience 'gainst the King
My father, 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 disedg'd by her
That now thou tirest on, how thy memory
Will then be pang'd by me. Prithee dispatch.
The lamp entreats the butcher. Where's thy knife?
Thou art too slow to do thy master's bidding,
When I desire it too.
PISANIO. O gracious lady,
Since I receiv'd command to do this busines
I have not slept one wink.
IMOGEN. Do't, and to bed then.
PISANIO. I'll wake mine eyeballs first.
IMOGEN. Wherefore then
Didst undertake it? Why hast thou abus'd
So many miles with a pretence? This place?
Mine action and thine own? our horses' labour?
The time inviting thee? the perturb'd court,
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,
Th' elected deer before thee?
PISANIO. But to win time
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,
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-
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 abus'd. 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
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 while? where bide? how live?
Or in my life what comfort, when I am
Dead to my husband?
PISANIO. If you'll back to th' court-
IMOGEN. No court, no father, nor no more ado
With that harsh, noble, simple nothing-
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?
Hath Britain all the sun that shines? Day, night,
Are they not but in Britain? I' th' 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.
PISANIO. I am most glad
You think of other place. Th' 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
That which t' appear itself must not yet be
But by self-danger, you should tread a course
Pretty and full of view; yea, happily, near
The residence of Posthumus; so nigh, at least,
That though his actions were not visible, yet
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.
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 it pretty self- into a waggish courage;
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
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
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,
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 will make him know
If that his head have ear in music; doubtless
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
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.
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
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. Exeunt severally

Britain. CYMBELINE'S palace


CYMBELINE. Thus far; and so farewell.
LUCIUS. Thanks, royal sir.
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
To show less sovereignty than they, must needs
Appear unkinglike.
LUCIUS. So, sir. I desire of you
A conduct overland to Milford Haven.
Madam, all joy befall your Grace, and you!
CYMBELINE. My lords, you are appointed for that office;
The due of honour in no point omit.
So farewell, noble Lucius.
LUCIUS. Your hand, my lord.
CLOTEN. Receive it friendly; but from this time forth
I wear it as your enemy.
LUCIUS. Sir, the event
Is yet to name the winner. Fare you well.
CYMBELINE. Leave not the worthy Lucius, good my lords,
Till he have cross'd the Severn. Happiness!
QUEEN. He goes hence frowning; but it honours us
That we have given him cause.
CLOTEN. 'Tis all the better;
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 pow'rs that he already hath in Gallia
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
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;
We have noted it. Call her before us, for
We have been too slight in sufferance. Exit a MESSENGER
QUEEN. Royal sir,
Since the exile of Posthumus, most retir'd
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.


CYMBELINE. Where is she, sir? How
Can her contempt be answer'd?
MESSENGER. Please you, sir,
Her chambers are all lock'd, and there's no answer
That will be given to th' loud of 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
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
Prove false! Exit
QUEEN. Son, I say, follow the King.
CLOTEN. That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant,
I have not seen these two days.
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
It is a thing most precious. But for her,
Where is she gone? Haply despair hath seiz'd her;
Or, wing'd with fervour of her love, she's flown
To her desir'd Posthumus. Gone she is
To death or to dishonour, and my end
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.
Go in and cheer the King. He rages; none
Dare come about him.
QUEEN. 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
Disdaining me and throwing favours on
The low Posthumus slanders so her judgment
That what's else rare is chok'd; and in that point
I will conclude to hate her, nay, indeed,
To be reveng'd upon her. For when fools


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.
PISANIO. O good my lord!
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?
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 miss'd?
He is in Rome.
CLOTEN. Where is she, sir? Come nearer.
No farther halting! Satisfy me home
What is become of her.
PISANIO. O my all-worthy lord!
CLOTEN. All-worthy villain!
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,
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.
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,
Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again!
CLOTEN. Sirrah, is this letter true?
PISANIO. Sir, as I think.
CLOTEN. It is Posthumus' hand; I know't. Sirrah, if thou wouldst
not be a villain, but do me true service, undergo those
employments wherein I should have cause to use thee with a
serious industry- that is, what villainy 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 relief nor my voice
for thy preferment.
PISANIO. Well, my good lord.
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 course of gratitude, but be a diligent follower
of mine. Wilt thou serve me?
PISANIO. Sir, I will.
CLOTEN. Give me thy hand; here's my purse. Hast any of thy late
master's garments in thy possession?
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 first service; go.
PISANIO. I shall, my lord. 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 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 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 prais'd- to the court I'll knock her back, foot her home
again. She hath despis'd me rejoicingly, and I'll be merry in my

Re-enter PISANIO, with the clothes

Be those the garments?
PISANIO. Ay, my noble lord.
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 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
Be cross'd with slowness! Labour be his meed! Exit

Wales. Before the cave of BELARIUS

Enter IMOGEN alone, in boy's clothes

IMOGEN. I see a man's life is a tedious one.
I have tir'd myself, and for two nights together
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,
Where they should be reliev'd. 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
Is sorer than to lie for need; and falsehood
Is worse in kings than beggars. My dear lord!
Thou art one o' th' 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?
Here is a path to't; 'tis some savage hold.
I were best not call; I dare not call. Yet famine,
Ere clean it o'erthrow nature, makes it valiant.
Plenty and peace breeds cowards; hardness ever
Of hardiness is mother. Ho! who's here?
If anything 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.
Such a foe, good heavens! Exit into the cave


BELARIUS. You, Polydore, have prov'd best woodman and
Are master of the feast. Cadwal and I
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
Finds the down pillow hard. Now, peace be here,
Poor house, that keep'st thyself!
GUIDERIUS. I am thoroughly weary.
ARVIRAGUS. I am weak with toil, yet strong in appetite.
GUIDERIUS. There is cold meat i' th' cave; we'll browse on that
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.
GUIDERIUS. What's the matter, sir?
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
Gold strew'd i' th' 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 pray'rs for the provider.
GUIDERIUS. Money, youth?
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
Have died had I not made it.
BELARIUS. Whither bound?
IMOGEN. To Milford Haven.
BELARIUS. What's your name?
IMOGEN. Fidele, sir. I have a kinsman who
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
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,
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
After long absence, such is yours. Most welcome!
Be sprightly, for you fall 'mongst friends.
IMOGEN. 'Mongst friends,
If brothers. [Aside] 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.
GUIDERIUS. Would I could free't!
ARVIRAGUS. Or I, whate'er it be,
What pain it cost, what danger! Gods!
BELARIUS. [Whispering] Hark, boys.
IMOGEN. [Aside] 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,
Could not out-peer these twain. Pardon me, gods!
I'd change my sex to be companion with them,
Since Leonatus' false.
BELARIUS. It shall be so.
Boys, we'll go dress our hunt. Fair youth, come in.
Discourse is heavy, fasting; when we have supp'd,
We'll mannerly demand thee of thy story,
So far as thou wilt speak it.
GUIDERIUS. Pray draw near.
ARVIRAGUS. The night to th' owl and morn to th' lark less welcome.
IMOGEN. Thanks, sir.
ARVIRAGUS. I pray draw near. Exeunt

Rome. A public place


FIRST SENATOR. This is the tenour 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
The fall'n-off Britons, that we do incite
The gentry to this business. He creates
Lucius proconsul; and to you, the tribunes,
For this immediate levy, he commands
His absolute commission. Long live Caesar!
TRIBUNE. Is Lucius general of the forces?
TRIBUNE. Remaining now in Gallia?
FIRST SENATOR. With those legions
Which I have spoke of, whereunto your levy
Must be supplyant. The words of your commission
Will tie you to the numbers and the time
Of their dispatch.
TRIBUNE. We will discharge our duty. Exeunt

Wales. Near the cave of BELARIUS

Enter CLOTEN alone

CLOTEN. I am near to th' place where they should meet, if Pisanio
have mapp'd 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 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 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
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 her face; and all this done, spurn her home to her 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 the very
description of their meeting-place; and the fellow dares not
deceive me. Exit

Wales. Before the cave of BELARIUS


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;
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
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,
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
As I do love my father.
BELARIUS. What? how? how?
ARVIRAGUS. If it be sin to say so, sir, I yoke me
In my good brother's fault. I know not why
I love this youth, and I have heard you say
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!
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, lov'd before me.-

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