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Cymbeline by William Shakespeare [Tudor edition]

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by William Shakespeare

Dramatis Personae

CYMBELINE, king of Britain.
CLOTEN, son to the Queen by a former husband.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS, a gentleman, husband to Imogen.
BELARIUS, a banished lord disguised under the name of Morgan.
GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS, sons to Cymbeline, disguised under the
names of POLYDORE and CADWAL, supposed sons to Morgan.
PHILARIO, Italian, friend to Posthumus.
IACHIMO, Italian, friend to Philario.
CAIUS LUCIUS, general of the Roman forces.
PISANIO, servant to Posthumus.
CORNELIUS, a physician.
A Roman Captain.
Two British Captains.
A Frenchman, friend to Philario.
Two Lords of Cymbeline's court.
Two Gentlemen of the same.
Two Gaolers.

Queen, wife to Cymbeline.
Imogen, daughter to Cymbeline by a former Queen.
Helen, a lady attending on Imogen.

Lords, Ladies, Roman Senators, Tribunes, a Soothsayer, a
Dutchman, a Spaniard, Musicians, Officers, Captains, Soldiers,
Messengers, and other Attendants.


SCENE: Britain; Rome.


SCENE I. Britain. The garden of Cymbeline's palace.

You do not meet a man but frowns. Our bloods
No more obey the heavens than our courtiers
Still seem as does the King.

But what's the matter?

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.

None but the King?

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.

And why so?

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.

You speak him far.

I do extend him, sir, within himself;
Crush him together rather than unfold
His measure duly.

What's his name and birth?

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' the 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 the 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.

I honour him
Even out of your report. But, pray you, tell me,
Is she sole child to the King?

His only child.
He had two sons,--if this be worth your hearing,
Mark it--the eldest of them at three years old,
I' the swathing-clothes the other, from their nursery
Were stolen, and to this hour no guess in knowledge
Which way they went.

How long is this ago?

FIRST GENTLEMAN. Some twenty years.

That a king's children should be so convey'd,
So slackly guarded, and the search so slow,
That could not trace them!

Howsoe'er 'tis strange,
Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at,
Yet is it true, sir.

I do well believe you.

We must forbear; here comes the gentleman,
The Queen, and Princess.



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 the 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.

Please your Highness,
I will from hence to-day.

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.


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.

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.]

Be brief, I pray you.
If the King come, I shall incur I know not
How much of his displeasure.


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.


Should we be taking leave
As long a term as yet we have to live,
The loathness to depart would grow. Adieu!

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.

How, how! another?
You gentle gods, give me but this I have,
And cere up my embracements from a next
With bonds of death! Remain, remain thou here

[Putting 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.

[Putting a bracelet upon her arm.]

O the gods!
When shall we see again?


Alack, the King!

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.

The gods protect you!
And bless the good remainders of the court!
I am gone.


There cannot be a pinch in death
More sharp than this is.

O disloyal thing,
That shouldst repair my youth, thou heap'st
A year's age on me!

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.

Past grace? obedience?

Past hope, and in despair; that way, past grace.

That mightst have had the sole son of my queen!

O blest, that I might not! I chose an eagle,
And did avoid a puttock.

Thou took'st a beggar; wouldst have made my throne
A seat for baseness.

No; I rather added
A lustre to it.

O thou vile one!

Sir, 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.

What, art thou mad?

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!
--They were again together; you have done
Not after our command. Away with her,
And pen her up.

Beseech your patience. Peace,
Dear lady daughter, peace! Sweet sovereign,
Leave us to ourselves, and make yourself some comfort
Out of your best advice.

Nay, let her languish
A drop of blood a day; and, being aged,
Die of this folly!


[Enter PISANIO.]

Fie! you must give way.
Here is your servant. How now, sir! What news?

My lord your son drew on my master.

Ha! No harm, I trust, is done?

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.

I am very glad on't.

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?

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.

This hath been
Your faithful servant. I dare lay mine honour
He will remain so.

I humbly thank your Highness.

Pray, walk a while.

About some half-hour hence,
I Pray you, speak with me; you shall at least
Go see my lord aboard. For this time leave me.



The same. A public place.

[Enter CLOTEN and two LORDS.]

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.

If my shirt were bloody, then to shift it. Have I hurt him?



No, faith; not so much as his patience.

Hurt him! His body's a passable carcass, if he be not
hurt; it is a throughfare for steel, if it be not hurt.



His steel was in debt; it went o' the backside the town.

The villain would not stand me.



No; but he fled forward still, toward your face.

Stand you! You have land enough of your own; but he
added to your having, gave you some ground.



As many inches as you have oceans. Puppies!

I would they had not come between us.



So would I, till you had measur'd how long a fool you
were upon the ground.

And that she should love this fellow and refuse me!



If it be a sin to make a true election, she is damn'd.

Sir, as I told you always, her beauty and her brain go
not together. She's a good sign, but I have seen small
of her wit.



She shines not upon fools, lest the reflection should hurt her.

Come, I'll to my chamber. Would there had been some hurt



I wish not so; unless it had been the fall of an ass, which is no
great hurt.

You'll go with us?

I'll attend your lordship.

Nay, come, let's go together.

Well, my lord.



A room in CYMBELINE'S palace.


I would thou grew'st unto the shores o' the haven,
And question'dst 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?

It was his queen, his queen!

Then wav'd his handkerchief?

And kiss'd it, madam.

Senseless linen! happier therein than I!
And that was all?

No, madam; for so long
As he could make me with this eye or ear
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.

Thou shouldst have made him
As little as a crow, or less, ere left
To after-eye him.

Madam, so I did.

I would have broke mine eye-strings; crack'd them, but
To look upon him, till the diminution
Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle;
Nay, follow'd 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?

Be assured, madam,
With his next vantage.

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,
To 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.]

The Queen, madam,
Desires your Highness' company.

Those things I bid you do, get them dispatch'd.
I will attend the Queen.

Madam, I shall.



Rome. PHILARIO'S house.


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

You speak of him when he was less furnish'd than now he
is with that which makes him both without and within.

I have seen him in France. We had very many there could
behold the sun with as firm eyes as he.

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.

And then his banishment.

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 judgement, 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?

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.

Sir, we have known together in Orleans.

Since when I have been debtor to you for courtesies,
which I will be ever to pay and yet pay still.

Sir, you o'er-rate 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.

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 judgement--if I offend
[not] to say it is mended--my quarrel was not altogether slight.

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 fallen both.

Can we, with manners, ask what was the difference?

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.

That lady is not now living, or this gentleman's opinion by this
worn out.

She holds her virtue still, and I my mind.

You must not so far prefer her 'fore ours of Italy.

Being so far provok'd as I was in France, I would abate her
nothing, though I profess myself her adorer, not her friend.

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

I prais'd her as I rated her; so do I my stone.

What do you esteem it at?

More than the world enjoys.

Either your unparagon'd mistress is dead, or she's outpriz'd by a

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.

Which the gods have given you?

Which, by their graces, I will keep.

You may wear her in title yours; but, you know, strange fowl
light upon neighbouring ponds. Your ring may be stolen 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.

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.

Let us leave here, gentlemen.

Sir, with all my heart. This worthy signior, I thank him, makes
no stranger of me; we are familiar at first.

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.

No, no.

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.

You are a great deal abus'd in too bold a persuasion; and I doubt
not you sustain what you're worthy of by your attempt.

What's that?

A repulse; though your attempt, as you call it, deserve more,--a
punishment too.

Gentlemen, enough of this; it came in too suddenly. Let it die
as it was born, and, I pray you, be better acquainted.

Would I had put my estate and my neighbour's on the approbation
of what I have spoke!

What lady would you choose to assail?

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.

I will wage against your gold, gold to it. My ring I hold dear as
my finger; 'tis part of it.

You are afraid, 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.

This is but a custom in your tongue; you bear a graver purpose, I

I am the master of my speeches, and would undergo what's spoken,
I swear.

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.

I will have it no lay.

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.

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 the assault you have made to her chastity you shall
answer me with your sword.

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.



Will this hold, think you?

Signior Iachimo will not from it. Pray, let us follow 'em.



Britain. A room in CYMBELINE'S palace.


Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those flowers;
Make haste. Who has the note of them?

I, madam.


[Exeunt LADIES.]

Now, master doctor, have you brought those drugs?

Pleaseth your Highness, ay. Here they are, madam.

[Presenting a small 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?

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 judgement 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.

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.

[Enter PISANIO.]


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.



I do suspect you, madam;
But you shall do no harm.



Hark thee, a word.



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 a while,
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.

No further service, doctor,
Until I send for thee.

I humbly take my leave.


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.


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 liegers for her sweet, and which she after,
Except she bend her humour, shall be assur'd
To taste of too.

[Re-enter PISANIO and LADIES.]

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.]

And shall do;
But when to my good lord I prove untrue,
I'll choke myself. There's all I'll do for you.



The same. Another room in the palace.

[Enter 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-stolen,
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!


Madam, a noble gentleman of Rome
Comes from my lord with letters.

Change you, madam?
The worthy Leonatus is in safety
And greets your Highness dearly.

[Presents a letter]

Thanks, good sir;
You're kindly welcome.



All of her that is out of door most rich!
If she be furnish'd with a mind so rare,
She is alone, the 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.



"--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 the rest--and take 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.

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?

What makes your admiration?

It cannot be i' the eye, for apes and monkeys
'Twixt two such shes would chatter this way and
Contemn with mows the other; nor i' the judgement,
For idiots in this case of favour would
Be wisely definite; nor i' the appetite;
Sluttery to such neat excellence oppos'd
Should make desire vomit emptiness,
Not so allur'd to feed.

What is the matter, trow?

The cloyed will,--
That satiate yet unsatisfi'd desire, that tub
Both fill'd and running,--ravening first the lamb,
Longs after for the garbage.

What, dear sir,
Thus raps you? Are you well?

Thanks, madam; well.


Beseech you, sir, desire
My man's abode where I did leave him.
He is strange and peevish.

I was going, sir,
To give him welcome.


Continues well my lord? His health, beseech you?

Well, madam.

Is he dispos'd to mirth? I hope he is.

Exceeding pleasant; none a stranger there
So merry and so gamesome. He is call'd
The Briton reveller.

When he was here,
He did incline to sadness, and oft-times
Not knowing why.

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 his free hours languish for
Assured bondage?"

Will my lord say so?

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.

Not he, I hope.

Not he; but yet heaven's bounty towards him might
Be used 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.

What do you pity, sir?

Two creatures heartily.

Am I one, sir?
You look on me; what wreck discern you in me
Deserves your pity?

Lamentable! What,
To hide me from the radiant sun, and solace
I' the dungeon by a snuff?

I pray you, sir,
Deliver with more openness your answers
To my demands. Why do you pity me?

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.

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.

Had I this cheek
To bathe my lips upon; this hand, whose touch,
Whose every touch, would force the feeler's soul
To the 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 lie 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.

My lord, I fear,
Has forgot Britain.

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.

Let me hear no more.

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.

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?

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.

What ho, Pisanio!

Let me my service tender on your lips.

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
Solicit'st 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!

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.

You make amends.

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 judgement
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.

All's well, sir. Take my power i' the court for yours.

My humble thanks. I had almost forgot
To 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.

Pray, what is't?

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?

And pawn mine honour for their safety. Since
My lord hath interest in them, I will keep them
In my bedchamber.

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.

O, no, no.

Yes, I beseech; or I shall short my word
By lengthening my return. From Gallia
I cross'd the seas on purpose and on promise
To see your Grace.

I thank you for your pains:
But not away to-morrow!

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 the tender of our present.

I will write.
Send your trunk to me; it shall safe be kept,
And truly yielded you. You're very welcome.



Britain. Before CYMBELINE'S palace.

[Enter CLOTEN and the two LORDS.]

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

What got he by that? You have broke his pate with your bowl.



If his wit had been like him that broke it, it would have run all

When a gentleman is dispos'd to swear, it is not for any
standers-by to curtail his oaths, ha?

No, my lord;


nor crop the ears of them.

Whoreson dog! I give him satisfaction? Would he had been one of
my rank!



To have smelt like a fool.

I am not vex'd more at anything in the 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 Jack-slave hath his
bellyful of fighting, and I must go up and down like a cock
that nobody can match.



You are cock and capon too; and you crow, cock, with your comb

Sayest thou?

It is not fit your lordship should undertake every companion that
you give offence to.

No, I know that; but it is fit I should commit offence to my

Ay, it is fit for your lordship only.

Why, so I say.

Did you hear of a stranger that's come to court to-night?

A stranger, and I not known on't!



He's a strange fellow himself, and knows it not.

There's an Italian come; and, 'tis thought, one of Leonatus'

Leonatus! a banish'd rascal; and he's another, whatsoever he be.
Who told you of this stranger?

One of your lordship's pages.

Is it fit I went to look upon him? Is there no derogation in't?

You cannot derogate, my lord.

Not easily, I think.



You are a fool granted; therefore your issues, being foolish, do
not derogate.

Come, I'll go see this Italian. What I have lost to-day at bowls
I'll win to-night of him. Come, go.

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! Then 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
To enjoy thy banish'd lord and this great land!



IMOGEN'S bedchamber in CYMBELINE'S palace:
a trunk in one corner of it.

[IMOGEN in bed [reading]; a LADY [attending.]]

Who's there? My woman Helen?

Please you, madam.

What hour is it?

Almost midnight, madam.

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' the 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.]

The crickets sing, and man's o'erlabour'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' the taper
Bows toward her, and would under-peep her lids
To see the 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
The adornment of her bed; the arras; figures,
Why, such and such; and the contents o' the story.
Ah, but some natural notes about her body,
Above ten thousand meaner moveables
Would testify, to 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 the madding of her lord. On her left breast
A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
I' the 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 the 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!

[Goes into the trunk.]


An ante-chamber adjoining IMOGEN'S apartments.

[Enter CLOTEN and LORDS.]

Your lordship is the most patient man in loss, the most
coldest that ever turn'd up ace.

It would make any man cold to lose.

But not every man patient after the noble temper of your
You are most hot and furious when you win.

Winning will put any man into courage. If I could get this
Imogen, I should have gold enough. It's almost morning, is't not?

Day, my lord.

I would this music would come. I am advised to give her music o'
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 flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes;
With every thing that pretty is,
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
horse-hairs and calves'-guts, nor the voice of unpaved eunuch
to boot, can never amend.

[Exeunt Musicians.]


Here comes the King.

I am glad I was up so late, for that's the reason I was up so
He cannot choose but take this service I have done fatherly.
--Good morrow to your Majesty and to my gracious mother!

Attend you here the door of our stern daughter?
Will she not forth?

I have assail'd her with musics, but she vouchsafes no notice.

The exile of her minion is too new;
She hath not yet forgot him. Some more time
Must wear the print of his remembrance on't,
And then she's yours.

You are most bound to the 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.

Senseless? Not so.

[Enter a MESSENGER.]

So like you, sir, ambassadors from Rome;
The one is Caius Lucius.

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
To employ you towards this Roman. Come, our queen.

[Exeunt all but CLOTEN.]

If she be up, I'll speak with her; if not,
Let her lie still and dream. By your leave, ho!


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 the stand o' the 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.


[Enter a LADY.]

Who's there that knocks?

A gentleman.

No more?

Yes, and a gentlewoman's son.

That's more
Than some, whose tailors are as dear as yours,
Can justly boast of. What's your lordship's pleasure?

Your lady's person. Is she ready?

To keep her chamber.

There is gold for you; sell me your good report.

How! my good name? Or to report of you
What I shall think is good?--The Princess!

[Enter IMOGEN.]

Good morrow, fairest. Sister, your sweet hand.

[Exit LADY.]

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.

Still, I swear I love you.

If you but said so, 'twere as deep with me.
If you swear still, your recompense is still
That I regard it not.

This is no answer.

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.

To leave you in your madness, 'twere my sin. I will not.

Fools are not mad folks.

Do you call me fool?

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 the 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.

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' the 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' the 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!

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.

The south-fog rot him!

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?

[Missing the bracelet.]


[Enter PISANIO.]

"His garments!" Now the devil--

To Dorothy my woman hie thee presently--

"His garment!"

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.

'Twill not be lost.

I hope so; go and search.


You have abus'd me
"His meanest garment!"

Ay, I said so, sir.
If you will make't an action, call witness to't.

I will inform your father.

Your mother too.
She's my good lady, and will conceive, I hope,
But the worst of me. So, I leave you, sir,
To the worst of discontent.


I'll be reveng'd.
"His meanest garment!" Well.



Rome. PHILARIO'S house.


Fear it not, sir; I would I were so sure
To win the King as I am bold her honour
Will remain hers.

What means do you make to him?

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.

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 the arrearages,
Or look upon our Romans, whose remembrance
Is yet fresh in their grief.

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

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