The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Cymbeline

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  • 1623
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Britain; Italy

Britain. The garden of CYMBELINE’S palace

FIRST GENTLEMAN. You do not meet a man but frowns; our bloods No more obey the heavens than our courtiers Still seem as does the King’s.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. But what’s the matter? FIRST GENTLEMAN. His daughter, and the heir of’s kingdom, whom He purpos’d to his wife’s sole son- a widow That late he married- hath referr’d herself Unto a poor but worthy gentleman. She’s wedded; Her husband banish’d; she imprison’d. All Is outward sorrow, though I think the King Be touch’d at very heart.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. None but the King? FIRST GENTLEMAN. He that hath lost her too. So is the Queen, That most desir’d the match. But not a courtier, Although they wear their faces to the bent Of the King’s looks, hath a heart that is not Glad at the thing they scowl at.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. He that hath miss’d the Princess is a thing Too bad for bad report; and he that hath her- I mean that married her, alack, good man! And therefore banish’d- is a creature such As, to seek through the regions of the earth For one his like, there would be something failing In him that should compare. I do not think So fair an outward and such stuff within Endows a man but he.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. You speak him far. FIRST GENTLEMAN. I do extend him, sir, within himself; Crush him together rather than unfold
His measure duly.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. What’s his name and birth? FIRST GENTLEMAN. I cannot delve him to the root; his father Was call’d Sicilius, who did join his honour Against the Romans with Cassibelan,
But had his titles by Tenantius, whom He serv’d with glory and admir’d success, So gain’d the sur-addition Leonatus;
And had, besides this gentleman in question, Two other sons, who, in the wars o’ th’ time, Died with their swords in hand; for which their father, Then old and fond of issue, took such sorrow That he quit being; and his gentle lady, Big of this gentleman, our theme, deceas’d As he was born. The King he takes the babe To his protection, calls him Posthumus Leonatus, Breeds him and makes him of his bed-chamber, Puts to him all the learnings that his time Could make him the receiver of; which he took, As we do air, fast as ’twas minist’red, And in’s spring became a harvest, liv’d in court- Which rare it is to do- most prais’d, most lov’d, A sample to the youngest; to th’ more mature A glass that feated them; and to the graver A child that guided dotards. To his mistress, For whom he now is banish’d- her own price Proclaims how she esteem’d him and his virtue; By her election may be truly read
What kind of man he is.
Even out of your report. But pray you tell me, Is she sole child to th’ King?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. His only child.
He had two sons- if this be worth your hearing, Mark it- the eldest of them at three years old, I’ th’ swathing clothes the other, from their nursery Were stol’n; and to this hour no guess in knowledge Which way they went.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. How long is this ago? FIRST GENTLEMAN. Some twenty years.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. That a king’s children should be so convey’d, So slackly guarded, and the search so slow That could not trace them!
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Howsoe’er ’tis strange, Or that the negligence may well be laugh’d at, Yet is it true, sir.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. I do well believe you. FIRST GENTLEMAN. We must forbear; here comes the gentleman, The Queen, and Princess. Exeunt


QUEEN. No, be assur’d you shall not find me, daughter, After the slander of most stepmothers, Evil-ey’d unto you. You’re my prisoner, but Your gaoler shall deliver you the keys That lock up your restraint. For you, Posthumus, So soon as I can win th’ offended King, I will be known your advocate. Marry, yet The fire of rage is in him, and ’twere good You lean’d unto his sentence with what patience Your wisdom may inform you.
POSTHUMUS. Please your Highness,
I will from hence to-day.
QUEEN. You know the peril.
I’ll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying The pangs of barr’d affections, though the King Hath charg’d you should not speak together. Exit IMOGEN. O dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant Can tickle where she wounds! My dearest husband, I something fear my father’s wrath, but nothing- Always reserv’d my holy duty- what
His rage can do on me. You must be gone; And I shall here abide the hourly shot Of angry eyes, not comforted to live
But that there is this jewel in the world That I may see again.
POSTHUMUS. My queen! my mistress!
O lady, weep no more, lest I give cause To be suspected of more tenderness
Than doth become a man. I will remain The loyal’st husband that did e’er plight troth; My residence in Rome at one Philario’s, Who to my father was a friend, to me
Known but by letter; thither write, my queen, And with mine eyes I’ll drink the words you send, Though ink be made of gall.

Re-enter QUEEN

QUEEN. Be brief, I pray you.
If the King come, I shall incur I know not How much of his displeasure. [Aside] Yet I’ll move him To walk this way. I never do him wrong But he does buy my injuries, to be friends; Pays dear for my offences. Exit POSTHUMUS. Should we be taking leave
As long a term as yet we have to live, The loathness to depart would grow. Adieu! IMOGEN. Nay, stay a little.
Were you but riding forth to air yourself, Such parting were too petty. Look here, love: This diamond was my mother’s; take it, heart; But keep it till you woo another wife, When Imogen is dead.
POSTHUMUS. How, how? Another?
You gentle gods, give me but this I have, And sear up my embracements from a next With bonds of death! Remain, remain thou here [Puts on the ring] While sense can keep it on. And, sweetest, fairest, As I my poor self did exchange for you, To your so infinite loss, so in our trifles I still win of you. For my sake wear this; It is a manacle of love; I’ll place it Upon this fairest prisoner. [Puts a bracelet on her arm] IMOGEN. O the gods!
When shall we see again?


POSTHUMUS. Alack, the King!
CYMBELINE. Thou basest thing, avoid; hence from my sight If after this command thou fraught the court With thy unworthiness, thou diest. Away! Thou’rt poison to my blood.
POSTHUMUS. The gods protect you,
And bless the good remainders of the court! I am gone. Exit

IMOGEN. There cannot be a pinch in death More sharp than this is.
CYMBELINE. O disloyal thing,
That shouldst repair my youth, thou heap’st A year’s age on me!
IMOGEN. I beseech you, sir,
Harm not yourself with your vexation. I am senseless of your wrath; a touch more rare Subdues all pangs, all fears.
CYMBELINE. Past grace? obedience?
IMOGEN. Past hope, and in despair; that way past grace. CYMBELINE. That mightst have had the sole son of my queen! IMOGEN. O blessed that I might not! I chose an eagle, And did avoid a puttock.
CYMBELINE. Thou took’st a beggar, wouldst have made my throne A seat for baseness.
IMOGEN. No; I rather added
A lustre to it.
CYMBELINE. O thou vile one!
It is your fault that I have lov’d Posthumus. You bred him as my playfellow, and he is A man worth any woman; overbuys me
Almost the sum he pays.
CYMBELINE. What, art thou mad?
IMOGEN. Almost, sir. Heaven restore me! Would I were A neat-herd’s daughter, and my Leonatus Our neighbour shepherd’s son!

Re-enter QUEEN

CYMBELINE. Thou foolish thing!
[To the QUEEN] They were again together. You have done Not after our command. Away with her,
And pen her up.
QUEEN. Beseech your patience.- Peace, Dear lady daughter, peace!- Sweet sovereign, Leave us to ourselves, and make yourself some comfort Out of your best advice.
CYMBELINE. Nay, let her languish
A drop of blood a day and, being aged, Die of this folly. Exit, with LORDS


QUEEN. Fie! you must give way.
Here is your servant. How now, sir! What news? PISANIO. My lord your son drew on my master. QUEEN. Ha!
No harm, I trust, is done?
PISANIO. There might have been,
But that my master rather play’d than fought, And had no help of anger; they were parted By gentlemen at hand.
QUEEN. I am very glad on’t.
IMOGEN. Your son’s my father’s friend; he takes his part To draw upon an exile! O brave sir!
I would they were in Afric both together; Myself by with a needle, that I might prick The goer-back. Why came you from your master? PISANIO. On his command. He would not suffer me To bring him to the haven; left these notes Of what commands I should be subject to, When’t pleas’d you to employ me.
QUEEN. This hath been
Your faithful servant. I dare lay mine honour He will remain so.
PISANIO. I humbly thank your Highness. QUEEN. Pray walk awhile.
IMOGEN. About some half-hour hence, Pray you speak with me. You shall at least Go see my lord aboard. For this time leave me. Exeunt

Britain. A public place

Enter CLOTEN and two LORDS

FIRST LORD. Sir, I would advise you to shift a shirt; the violence
of action hath made you reek as a sacrifice. Where air comes out,
air comes in; there’s none abroad so wholesome as that you vent.
CLOTEN. If my shirt were bloody, then to shift it. Have I hurt him?
SECOND LORD. [Aside] No, faith; not so much as his patience. FIRST LORD. Hurt him! His body’s a passable carcass if he be not
hurt. It is a throughfare for steel if it be not hurt. SECOND LORD. [Aside] His steel was in debt; it went o’ th’ back side the town.
CLOTEN. The villain would not stand me. SECOND LORD. [Aside] No; but he fled forward still, toward your face.
FIRST LORD. Stand you? You have land enough of your own; but he added to your having, gave you some ground. SECOND LORD. [Aside] As many inches as you have oceans. Puppies!
CLOTEN. I would they had not come between us. SECOND LORD. [Aside] So would I, till you had measur’d how long a
fool you were upon the ground.
CLOTEN. And that she should love this fellow, and refuse me! SECOND LORD. [Aside] If it be a sin to make a true election, she is
FIRST LORD. Sir, as I told you always, her beauty and her brain go
not together; she’s a good sign, but I have seen small reflection
of her wit.
SECOND LORD. [Aside] She shines not upon fools, lest the reflection
should hurt her.
CLOTEN. Come, I’ll to my chamber. Would there had been some hurt
SECOND LORD. [Aside] I wish not so; unless it had been the fall of
an ass, which is no great hurt.
CLOTEN. You’ll go with us?
FIRST LORD. I’ll attend your lordship. CLOTEN. Nay, come, let’s go together.
SECOND LORD. Well, my lord. Exeunt

Britain. CYMBELINE’S palace


IMOGEN. I would thou grew’st unto the shores o’ th’ haven, And questioned’st every sail; if he should write, And I not have it, ’twere a paper lost, As offer’d mercy is. What was the last That he spake to thee?
PISANIO. It was: his queen, his queen! IMOGEN. Then wav’d his handkerchief?
PISANIO. And kiss’d it, madam.
IMOGEN. Senseless linen, happier therein than I! And that was all?
PISANIO. No, madam; for so long
As he could make me with his eye, or care Distinguish him from others, he did keep The deck, with glove, or hat, or handkerchief, Still waving, as the fits and stirs of’s mind Could best express how slow his soul sail’d on, How swift his ship.
IMOGEN. Thou shouldst have made him As little as a crow, or less, ere left To after-eye him.
PISANIO. Madam, so I did.
IMOGEN. I would have broke mine eyestrings, crack’d them but To look upon him, till the diminution
Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle; Nay, followed him till he had melted from The smallness of a gnat to air, and then Have turn’d mine eye and wept. But, good Pisanio, When shall we hear from him?
PISANIO. Be assur’d, madam,
With his next vantage.
IMOGEN. I did not take my leave of him, but had Most pretty things to say. Ere I could tell him How I would think on him at certain hours Such thoughts and such; or I could make him swear The shes of Italy should not betray
Mine interest and his honour; or have charg’d him, At the sixth hour of morn, at noon, at midnight, T’ encounter me with orisons, for then I am in heaven for him; or ere I could Give him that parting kiss which I had set Betwixt two charming words, comes in my father, And like the tyrannous breathing of the north Shakes all our buds from growing.

Enter a LADY

LADY. The Queen, madam,
Desires your Highness’ company.
IMOGEN. Those things I bid you do, get them dispatch’d. I will attend the Queen.
PISANIO. Madam, I shall. Exeunt

Rome. PHILARIO’S house


IACHIMO. Believe it, sir, I have seen him in Britain. He was then
of a crescent note, expected to prove so worthy as since he hath
been allowed the name of. But I could then have look’d on him without the help of admiration, though the catalogue of his endowments had been tabled by his side, and I to peruse him by items. PHILARIO. You speak of him when he was less furnish’d than now he
is with that which makes him both without and within. FRENCHMAN. I have seen him in France; we had very many there could
behold the sun with as firm eyes as he. IACHIMO. This matter of marrying his king’s daughter, wherein he
must be weighed rather by her value than his own, words him, I
doubt not, a great deal from the matter. FRENCHMAN. And then his banishment.
IACHIMO. Ay, and the approbation of those that weep this lamentable
divorce under her colours are wonderfully to extend him, be it
but to fortify her judgment, which else an easy battery might lay
flat, for taking a beggar, without less quality. But how comes it
he is to sojourn with you? How creeps acquaintance? PHILARIO. His father and I were soldiers together, to whom I have
been often bound for no less than my life.


Here comes the Briton. Let him be so entertained amongst you as
suits with gentlemen of your knowing to a stranger of his quality. I beseech you all be better known to this gentleman, whom I commend to you as a noble friend of mine. How worthy he is
I will leave to appear hereafter, rather than story him in his
own hearing.
FRENCHMAN. Sir, we have known together in Orleans. POSTHUMUS. Since when I have been debtor to you for courtesies, which I will be ever to pay and yet pay still. FRENCHMAN. Sir, you o’errate my poor kindness. I was glad I did atone my countryman and you; it had been pity you should have been put together with so mortal a purpose as then each bore, upon importance of so slight and trivial a nature. POSTHUMUS. By your pardon, sir. I was then a young traveller; rather shunn’d to go even with what I heard than in my every action to be guided by others’ experiences; but upon my mended
judgment- if I offend not to say it is mended- my quarrel was not
altogether slight.
FRENCHMAN. Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrement of swords, and
by such two that would by all likelihood have confounded one the
other or have fall’n both.
IACHIMO. Can we, with manners, ask what was the difference? FRENCHMAN. Safely, I think. ‘Twas a contention in public, which may, without contradiction, suffer the report. It was much like
an argument that fell out last night, where each of us fell in
praise of our country mistresses; this gentleman at that time vouching- and upon warrant of bloody affirmation- his to be more
fair, virtuous, wise, chaste, constant, qualified, and less attemptable, than any the rarest of our ladies in France. IACHIMO. That lady is not now living, or this gentleman’s opinion,
by this, worn out.
POSTHUMUS. She holds her virtue still, and I my mind. IACHIMO. You must not so far prefer her fore ours of Italy. POSTHUMUS. Being so far provok’d as I was in France, I would abate
her nothing, though I profess myself her adorer, not her friend.
IACHIMO. As fair and as good- a kind of hand-in-hand comparison-
had been something too fair and too good for any lady in Britain.
If she went before others I have seen as that diamond of yours
outlustres many I have beheld, I could not but believe she excelled many; but I have not seen the most precious diamond that
is, nor you the lady.
POSTHUMUS. I prais’d her as I rated her. So do I my stone. IACHIMO. What do you esteem it at?
POSTHUMUS. More than the world enjoys. IACHIMO. Either your unparagon’d mistress is dead, or she’s outpriz’d by a trifle.
POSTHUMUS. You are mistaken: the one may be sold or given, if there
were wealth enough for the purchase or merit for the gift; the
other is not a thing for sale, and only the gift of the gods. IACHIMO. Which the gods have given you? POSTHUMUS. Which by their graces I will keep. IACHIMO. You may wear her in title yours; but you know strange fowl
light upon neighbouring ponds. Your ring may be stol’n too. So
your brace of unprizable estimations, the one is but frail and
the other casual; a cunning thief, or a that-way-accomplish’d courtier, would hazard the winning both of first and last. POSTHUMUS. Your Italy contains none so accomplish’d a courtier to
convince the honour of my mistress, if in the holding or loss of
that you term her frail. I do nothing doubt you have store of thieves; notwithstanding, I fear not my ring. PHILARIO. Let us leave here, gentlemen. POSTHUMUS. Sir, with all my heart. This worthy signior, I thank him, makes no stranger of me; we are familiar at first. IACHIMO. With five times so much conversation I should get ground
of your fair mistress; make her go back even to the yielding, had
I admittance and opportunity to friend. POSTHUMUS. No, no.
IACHIMO. I dare thereupon pawn the moiety of my estate to your ring, which, in my opinion, o’ervalues it something. But I make
my wager rather against your confidence than her reputation; and,
to bar your offence herein too, I durst attempt it against any
lady in the world.
POSTHUMUS. You are a great deal abus’d in too bold a persuasion,
and I doubt not you sustain what y’are worthy of by your attempt.
IACHIMO. What’s that?
POSTHUMUS. A repulse; though your attempt, as you call it, deserve
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.
POSTHUMUS. Agreed. Exeunt POSTHUMUS and IACHIMO 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 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 off 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 pleasure.
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 to-night?
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. Exeunt CLOTEN and FIRST LORD 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 notice.
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? LADY. Ay,
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. Exit LADY
IMOGEN. Good morrow, sir. You lay out too much pains For purchasing but trouble. The thanks I give Is telling you that I am poor of thanks, 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 off 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 off 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! [Reads]
‘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 LEONATUS POSTHUMUS.’

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. Exeunt GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS 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,