Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Cymbeline

Part 3 out of 3

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

POSTHUMUS. [Coming forward] Ay, so thou dost,
Italian fiend! Ay me, most credulous fool,
Egregious murderer, thief, anything
That's due to all the villains past, in being,
To come! O, give me cord, or knife, or poison,
Some upright justicer! Thou, King, send out
For torturers ingenious. It is I
That all th' abhorred things o' th' earth amend
By being worse than they. I am Posthumus,
That kill'd thy daughter; villain-like, I lie-
That caus'd a lesser villain than myself,
A sacrilegious thief, to do't. The temple
Of virtue was she; yea, and she herself.
Spit, and throw stones, cast mire upon me, set
The dogs o' th' street to bay me. Every villain
Be call'd Posthumus Leonatus, and
Be villainy less than 'twas! O Imogen!
My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen,
Imogen, Imogen!
IMOGEN. Peace, my lord. Hear, hear!
POSTHUMUS. Shall's have a play of this? Thou scornful page,
There lies thy part. [Strikes her. She falls]
PISANIO. O gentlemen, help!
Mine and your mistress! O, my lord Posthumus!
You ne'er kill'd Imogen till now. Help, help!
Mine honour'd lady!
CYMBELINE. Does the world go round?
POSTHUMUS. How comes these staggers on me?
PISANIO. Wake, my mistress!
CYMBELINE. If this be so, the gods do mean to strike me
To death with mortal joy.
PISANIO. How fares my mistress?
IMOGEN. O, get thee from my sight;
Thou gav'st me poison. Dangerous fellow, hence!
Breathe not where princes are.
CYMBELINE. The tune of Imogen!
PISANIO. Lady,
The gods throw stones of sulphur on me, if
That box I gave you was not thought by me
A precious thing! I had it from the Queen.
CYMBELINE. New matter still?
IMOGEN. It poison'd me.
CORNELIUS. O gods!
I left out one thing which the Queen confess'd,
Which must approve thee honest. 'If Pisanio
Have' said she 'given his mistress that confection
Which I gave him for cordial, she is serv'd
As I would serve a rat.'
CYMBELINE. What's this, Cornelius?
CORNELIUS. The Queen, sir, very oft importun'd me
To temper poisons for her; still pretending
The satisfaction of her knowledge only
In killing creatures vile, as cats and dogs,
Of no esteem. I, dreading that her purpose
Was of more danger, did compound for her
A certain stuff, which, being ta'en would cease
The present pow'r of life, but in short time
All offices of nature should again
Do their due functions. Have you ta'en of it?
IMOGEN. Most like I did, for I was dead.
BELARIUS. My boys,
There was our error.
GUIDERIUS. This is sure Fidele.
IMOGEN. Why did you throw your wedded lady from you?
Think that you are upon a rock, and now
Throw me again. [Embracing him]
POSTHUMUS. Hang there like fruit, my soul,
Till the tree die!
CYMBELINE. How now, my flesh? my child?
What, mak'st thou me a dullard in this act?
Wilt thou not speak to me?
IMOGEN. [Kneeling] Your blessing, sir.
BELARIUS. [To GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS] Though you did love this
youth, I blame ye not;
You had a motive for't.
CYMBELINE. My tears that fall
Prove holy water on thee! Imogen,
Thy mother's dead.
IMOGEN. I am sorry for't, my lord.
CYMBELINE. O, she was naught, and long of her it was
That we meet here so strangely; but her son
Is gone, we know not how nor where.
PISANIO. My lord,
Now fear is from me, I'll speak troth. Lord Cloten,
Upon my lady's missing, came to me
With his sword drawn, foam'd at the mouth, and swore,
If I discover'd not which way she was gone,
It was my instant death. By accident
I had a feigned letter of my master's
Then in my pocket, which directed him
To seek her on the mountains near to Milford;
Where, in a frenzy, in my master's garments,
Which he enforc'd from me, away he posts
With unchaste purpose, and with oath to violate
My lady's honour. What became of him
I further know not.
GUIDERIUS. Let me end the story:
I slew him there.
CYMBELINE. Marry, the gods forfend!
I would not thy good deeds should from my lips
Pluck a hard sentence. Prithee, valiant youth,
Deny't again.
GUIDERIUS. I have spoke it, and I did it.
CYMBELINE. He was a prince.
GUIDERIUS. A most incivil one. The wrongs he did me
Were nothing prince-like; for he did provoke me
With language that would make me spurn the sea,
If it could so roar to me. I cut off's head,
And am right glad he is not standing here
To tell this tale of mine.
CYMBELINE. I am sorry for thee.
By thine own tongue thou art condemn'd, and must
Endure our law. Thou'rt dead.
IMOGEN. That headless man
I thought had been my lord.
CYMBELINE. Bind the offender,
And take him from our presence.
BELARIUS. Stay, sir King.
This man is better than the man he slew,
As well descended as thyself, and hath
More of thee merited than a band of Clotens
Had ever scar for. [To the guard] Let his arms alone;
They were not born for bondage.
CYMBELINE. Why, old soldier,
Wilt thou undo the worth thou art unpaid for
By tasting of our wrath? How of descent
As good as we?
ARVIRAGUS. In that he spake too far.
CYMBELINE. And thou shalt die for't.
BELARIUS. We will die all three;
But I will prove that two on's are as good
As I have given out him. My sons, I must
For mine own part unfold a dangerous speech,
Though haply well for you.
ARVIRAGUS. Your danger's ours.
GUIDERIUS. And our good his.
BELARIUS. Have at it then by leave!
Thou hadst, great King, a subject who
Was call'd Belarius.
CYMBELINE. What of him? He is
A banish'd traitor.
BELARIUS. He it is that hath
Assum'd this age; indeed a banish'd man;
I know not how a traitor.
CYMBELINE. Take him hence,
The whole world shall not save him.
BELARIUS. Not too hot.
First pay me for the nursing of thy sons,
And let it be confiscate all, so soon
As I have receiv'd it.
CYMBELINE. Nursing of my sons?
BELARIUS. I am too blunt and saucy: here's my knee.
Ere I arise I will prefer my sons;
Then spare not the old father. Mighty sir,
These two young gentlemen that call me father,
And think they are my sons, are none of mine;
They are the issue of your loins, my liege,
And blood of your begetting.
CYMBELINE. How? my issue?
BELARIUS. So sure as you your father's. I, old Morgan,
Am that Belarius whom you sometime banish'd.
Your pleasure was my mere offence, my punishment
Itself, and all my treason; that I suffer'd
Was all the harm I did. These gentle princes-
For such and so they are- these twenty years
Have I train'd up; those arts they have as
Could put into them. My breeding was, sir, as
Your Highness knows. Their nurse, Euriphile,
Whom for the theft I wedded, stole these children
Upon my banishment; I mov'd her to't,
Having receiv'd the punishment before
For that which I did then. Beaten for loyalty
Excited me to treason. Their dear loss,
The more of you 'twas felt, the more it shap'd
Unto my end of stealing them. But, gracious sir,
Here are your sons again, and I must lose
Two of the sweet'st companions in the world.
The benediction of these covering heavens
Fall on their heads like dew! for they are worthy
To inlay heaven with stars.
CYMBELINE. Thou weep'st and speak'st.
The service that you three have done is more
Unlike than this thou tell'st. I lost my children.
If these be they, I know not how to wish
A pair of worthier sons.
BELARIUS. Be pleas'd awhile.
This gentleman, whom I call Polydore,
Most worthy prince, as yours, is true Guiderius;
This gentleman, my Cadwal, Arviragus,
Your younger princely son; he, sir, was lapp'd
In a most curious mantle, wrought by th' hand
Of his queen mother, which for more probation
I can with ease produce.
CYMBELINE. Guiderius had
Upon his neck a mole, a sanguine star;
It was a mark of wonder.
BELARIUS. This is he,
Who hath upon him still that natural stamp.
It was wise nature's end in the donation,
To be his evidence now.
CYMBELINE. O, what am I?
A mother to the birth of three? Ne'er mother
Rejoic'd deliverance more. Blest pray you be,
That, after this strange starting from your orbs,
You may reign in them now! O Imogen,
Thou hast lost by this a kingdom.
IMOGEN. No, my lord;
I have got two worlds by't. O my gentle brothers,
Have we thus met? O, never say hereafter
But I am truest speaker! You call'd me brother,
When I was but your sister: I you brothers,
When we were so indeed.
CYMBELINE. Did you e'er meet?
ARVIRAGUS. Ay, my good lord.
GUIDERIUS. And at first meeting lov'd,
Continu'd so until we thought he died.
CORNELIUS. By the Queen's dram she swallow'd.
CYMBELINE. O rare instinct!
When shall I hear all through? This fierce abridgment
Hath to it circumstantial branches, which
Distinction should be rich in. Where? how liv'd you?
And when came you to serve our Roman captive?
How parted with your brothers? how first met them?
Why fled you from the court? and whither? These,
And your three motives to the battle, with
I know not how much more, should be demanded,
And all the other by-dependences,
From chance to chance; but nor the time nor place
Will serve our long interrogatories. See,
Posthumus anchors upon Imogen;
And she, like harmless lightning, throws her eye
On him, her brothers, me, her master, hitting
Each object with a joy; the counterchange
Is severally in all. Let's quit this ground,
And smoke the temple with our sacrifices.
[To BELARIUS] Thou art my brother; so we'll hold thee ever.
IMOGEN. You are my father too, and did relieve me
To see this gracious season.
CYMBELINE. All o'erjoy'd
Save these in bonds. Let them be joyful too,
For they shall taste our comfort.
IMOGEN. My good master,
I will yet do you service.
LUCIUS. Happy be you!
CYMBELINE. The forlorn soldier, that so nobly fought,
He would have well becom'd this place and grac'd
The thankings of a king.
POSTHUMUS. I am, sir,
The soldier that did company these three
In poor beseeming; 'twas a fitment for
The purpose I then follow'd. That I was he,
Speak, Iachimo. I had you down, and might
Have made you finish.
IACHIMO. [Kneeling] I am down again;
But now my heavy conscience sinks my knee,
As then your force did. Take that life, beseech you,
Which I so often owe; but your ring first,
And here the bracelet of the truest princess
That ever swore her faith.
POSTHUMUS. Kneel not to me.
The pow'r that I have on you is to spare you;
The malice towards you to forgive you. Live,
And deal with others better.
CYMBELINE. Nobly doom'd!
We'll learn our freeness of a son-in-law;
Pardon's the word to all.
ARVIRAGUS. You holp us, sir,
As you did mean indeed to be our brother;
Joy'd are we that you are.
POSTHUMUS. Your servant, Princes. Good my lord of Rome,
Call forth your soothsayer. As I slept, methought
Great Jupiter, upon his eagle back'd,
Appear'd to me, with other spritely shows
Of mine own kindred. When I wak'd, I found
This label on my bosom; whose containing
Is so from sense in hardness that I can
Make no collection of it. Let him show
His skill in the construction.
LUCIUS. Philarmonus!
SOOTHSAYER. Here, my good lord.
LUCIUS. Read, and declare the meaning.
SOOTHSAYER. [Reads] 'When as a lion's whelp shall, to himself
unknown, without seeking find, and be embrac'd by
a piece of tender air; and when from a stately cedar shall
be lopp'd branches which, being dead many years, shall
after revive, be jointed to the old stock, and freshly grow;
then shall Posthumus end his miseries, Britain be fortunate
and flourish in peace and plenty.'
Thou, Leonatus, art the lion's whelp;
The fit and apt construction of thy name,
Being Leo-natus, doth import so much.
[To CYMBELINE] The piece of tender air, thy virtuous
daughter,
Which we call 'mollis aer,' and 'mollis aer'
We term it 'mulier'; which 'mulier' I divine
Is this most constant wife, who even now
Answering the letter of the oracle,
Unknown to you, unsought, were clipp'd about
With this most tender air.
CYMBELINE. This hath some seeming.
SOOTHSAYER. The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline,
Personates thee; and thy lopp'd branches point
Thy two sons forth, who, by Belarius stol'n,
For many years thought dead, are now reviv'd,
To the majestic cedar join'd, whose issue
Promises Britain peace and plenty.
CYMBELINE. Well,
My peace we will begin. And, Caius Lucius,
Although the victor, we submit to Caesar
And to the Roman empire, promising
To pay our wonted tribute, from the which
We were dissuaded by our wicked queen,
Whom heavens in justice, both on her and hers,
Have laid most heavy hand.
SOOTHSAYER. The fingers of the pow'rs above do tune
The harmony of this peace. The vision
Which I made known to Lucius ere the stroke
Of yet this scarce-cold battle, at this instant
Is full accomplish'd; for the Roman eagle,
From south to west on wing soaring aloft,
Lessen'd herself and in the beams o' th' sun
So vanish'd; which foreshow'd our princely eagle,
Th'imperial Caesar, should again unite
His favour with the radiant Cymbeline,
Which shines here in the west.
CYMBELINE. Laud we the gods;
And let our crooked smokes climb to their nostrils
From our bless'd altars. Publish we this peace
To all our subjects. Set we forward; let
A Roman and a British ensign wave
Friendly together. So through Lud's Town march;
And in the temple of great Jupiter
Our peace we'll ratify; seal it with feasts.
Set on there! Never was a war did cease,
Ere bloody hands were wash'd, with such a peace. Exeunt

THE END

<SHAKESPEARE IS COPYRIGHT 1990-1993 BY WORLD LIBRARY, INC., AND IS

Book of the day: