Archives For Authors


Cymbeline, ACT V
SCENE I. Britain. The Roman camp.
Cymbeline VI

Portrait of the Actor, William Powell (1735-1769), as ‘Posthumous’ in Cymbeline Act V, Scene I

Enter POSTHUMUS, with a bloody handkerchief

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Yea, bloody cloth, I’ll keep thee, for I wish’d
Thou shouldst be colour’d thus. You married ones,
If each of you should take this course, how many
Must murder wives much better than themselves
For wrying but a little! O Pisanio!
Every good servant does not all commands:
No bond but to do just ones. Gods! if you
Should have ta’en vengeance on my faults, I never
Had lived to put on this: so had you saved
The noble Imogen to repent, and struck
Me, wretch more worth your vengeance. But, alack,
You snatch some hence for little faults; that’s love,
To have them fall no more: you some permit
To second ills with ills, each elder worse,
And make them dread it, to the doers’ thrift.
But Imogen is your own: do your best wills,
And make me blest to obey! I am brought hither
Among the Italian gentry, and to fight
Against my lady’s kingdom: ’tis enough
That, Britain, I have kill’d thy mistress; peace!
I’ll give no wound to thee. Therefore, good heavens,
Hear patiently my purpose: I’ll disrobe me
Of these Italian weeds and suit myself
As does a Briton peasant: so I’ll fight
Against the part I come with; so I’ll die
For thee, O Imogen, even for whom my life
Is every breath a death; and thus, unknown,
Pitied nor hated, to the face of peril
Myself I’ll dedicate. Let me make men know
More valour in me than my habits show.
Gods, put the strength o’ the Leonati in me!
To shame the guise o’ the world, I will begin
The fashion, less without and more within.

Exit

SCENE II. Field of battle between the British and Roman camps.

Enter, from one side, LUCIUS, IACHIMO, and the Roman Army: from the other side, the British Army; POSTHUMUS LEONATUS following, like a poor soldier. They march over and go out. Then enter again, in skirmish, IACHIMO and POSTHUMUS LEONATUS he vanquisheth and disarmeth IACHIMO, and then leaves him
IACHIMO
The heaviness and guilt within my bosom
Takes off my manhood: I have belied a lady,
The princess of this country, and the air on’t
Revengingly enfeebles me; or could this carl,
A very drudge of nature’s, have subdued me
In my profession? Knighthoods and honours, borne
As I wear mine, are titles but of scorn.
If that thy gentry, Britain, go before
This lout as he exceeds our lords, the odds
Is that we scarce are men and you are gods.

Exit

The battle continues; the Britons fly; CYMBELINE is taken: then enter, to his rescue, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS

BELARIUS
Stand, stand! We have the advantage of the ground;
The lane is guarded: nothing routs us but
The villany of our fears.

GUIDERIUS ARVIRAGUS
Stand, stand, and fight!

Re-enter POSTHUMUS LEONATUS, and seconds the Britons: they rescue CYMBELINE, and exeunt. Then re-enter LUCIUS, and IACHIMO, with IMOGEN

CAIUS LUCIUS
Away, boy, from the troops, and save thyself;
For friends kill friends, and the disorder’s such
As war were hoodwink’d.

IACHIMO
‘Tis their fresh supplies.

CAIUS LUCIUS
It is a day turn’d strangely: or betimes
Let’s reinforce, or fly.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Another part of the field.

Enter POSTHUMUS LEONATUS and a British Lord
Lord
Camest thou from where they made the stand?

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
I did.
Though you, it seems, come from the fliers.

Lord
I did.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
No blame be to you, sir; for all was lost,
But that the heavens fought: the king himself
Of his wings destitute, the army broken,
And but the backs of Britons seen, all flying
Through a straight lane; the enemy full-hearted,
Lolling the tongue with slaughtering, having work
More plentiful than tools to do’t, struck down
Some mortally, some slightly touch’d, some falling
Merely through fear; that the straight pass was damm’d
With dead men hurt behind, and cowards living
To die with lengthen’d shame.

Lord
Where was this lane?

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Close by the battle, ditch’d, and wall’d with turf;
Which gave advantage to an ancient soldier,
An honest one, I warrant; who deserved
So long a breeding as his white beard came to,
In doing this for’s country: athwart the lane,
He, with two striplings-lads more like to run
The country base than to commit such slaughter
With faces fit for masks, or rather fairer
Than those for preservation cased, or shame–
Made good the passage; cried to those that fled,
‘Our Britain s harts die flying, not our men:
To darkness fleet souls that fly backwards. Stand;
Or we are Romans and will give you that
Like beasts which you shun beastly, and may save,
But to look back in frown: stand, stand.’
These three,
Three thousand confident, in act as many–
For three performers are the file when all
The rest do nothing–with this word ‘Stand, stand,’
Accommodated by the place, more charming
With their own nobleness, which could have turn’d
A distaff to a lance, gilded pale looks,
Part shame, part spirit renew’d; that some,
turn’d coward
But by example–O, a sin in war,
Damn’d in the first beginners!–gan to look
The way that they did, and to grin like lions
Upon the pikes o’ the hunters. Then began
A stop i’ the chaser, a retire, anon
A rout, confusion thick; forthwith they fly
Chickens, the way which they stoop’d eagles; slaves,
The strides they victors made: and now our cowards,
Like fragments in hard voyages, became
The life o’ the need: having found the backdoor open
Of the unguarded hearts, heavens, how they wound!
Some slain before; some dying; some their friends
O’er borne i’ the former wave: ten, chased by one,
Are now each one the slaughter-man of twenty:
Those that would die or ere resist are grown
The mortal bugs o’ the field.

Lord
This was strange chance
A narrow lane, an old man, and two boys.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Nay, do not wonder at it: you are made
Rather to wonder at the things you hear
Than to work any. Will you rhyme upon’t,
And vent it for a mockery? Here is one:
‘Two boys, an old man twice a boy, a lane,
Preserved the Britons, was the Romans’ bane.’

Lord
Nay, be not angry, sir.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
‘Lack, to what end?
Who dares not stand his foe, I’ll be his friend;
For if he’ll do as he is made to do,
I know he’ll quickly fly my friendship too.
You have put me into rhyme.

Lord
Farewell; you’re angry.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Still going?

Exit Lord

This is a lord! O noble misery,
To be i’ the field, and ask ‘what news?’ of me!
To-day how many would have given their honours
To have saved their carcasses! took heel to do’t,
And yet died too! I, in mine own woe charm’d,
Could not find death where I did hear him groan,
Nor feel him where he struck: being an ugly monster,
‘Tis strange he hides him in fresh cups, soft beds,
Sweet words; or hath more ministers than we
That draw his knives i’ the war. Well, I will find him
For being now a favourer to the Briton,
No more a Briton, I have resumed again
The part I came in: fight I will no more,
But yield me to the veriest hind that shall
Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is
Here made by the Roman; great the answer be
Britons must take. For me, my ransom’s death;
On either side I come to spend my breath;
Which neither here I’ll keep nor bear again,
But end it by some means for Imogen.

Enter two British Captains and Soldiers

First Captain
Great Jupiter be praised! Lucius is taken.
‘Tis thought the old man and his sons were angels.

Second Captain
There was a fourth man, in a silly habit,
That gave the affront with them.

First Captain
So ’tis reported:
But none of ’em can be found. Stand! who’s there?

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
A Roman,
Who had not now been drooping here, if seconds
Had answer’d him.

Second Captain
Lay hands on him; a dog!
A leg of Rome shall not return to tell
What crows have peck’d them here. He brags
his service
As if he were of note: bring him to the king.

Enter CYMBELINE, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS, PISANIO, Soldiers, Attendants, and Roman Captives. The Captains present POSTHUMUS LEONATUS to CYMBELINE, who delivers him over to a Gaoler: then exeunt omnes

SCENE IV. A British prison.

Enter POSTHUMUS LEONATUS and two Gaolers
First Gaoler
You shall not now be stol’n, you have locks upon you;
So graze as you find pasture.

Second Gaoler
Ay, or a stomach.

Exeunt Gaolers

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Most welcome, bondage! for thou art away,
think, to liberty: yet am I better
Than one that’s sick o’ the gout; since he had rather
Groan so in perpetuity than be cured
By the sure physician, death, who is the key
To unbar these locks. My conscience, thou art fetter’d
More than my shanks and wrists: you good gods, give me
The penitent instrument to pick that bolt,
Then, free for ever! Is’t enough I am sorry?
So children temporal fathers do appease;
Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent?
I cannot do it better than in gyves,
Desired more than constrain’d: to satisfy,
If of my freedom ’tis the main part, take
No stricter render of me than my all.
I know you are more clement than vile men,
Who of their broken debtors take a third,
A sixth, a tenth, letting them thrive again
On their abatement: that’s not my desire:
For Imogen’s dear life take mine; and though
‘Tis not so dear, yet ’tis a life; you coin’d it:
‘Tween man and man they weigh not every stamp;
Though light, take pieces for the figure’s sake:
You rather mine, being yours: and so, great powers,
If you will take this audit, take this life,
And cancel these cold bonds. O Imogen!
I’ll speak to thee in silence.

Sleeps

Solemn music. Enter, as in an apparition, SICILIUS LEONATUS, father to Posthumus Leonatus, an old man, attired like a warrior; leading in his hand an ancient matron, his wife, and mother to Posthumus Leonatus, with music before them: then, after other music, follow the two young Leonati, brothers to Posthumus Leonatus, with wounds as they died in the wars. They circle Posthumus Leonatus round, as he lies sleeping

Sicilius Leonatus
No more, thou thunder-master, show
Thy spite on mortal flies:
With Mars fall out, with Juno chide,
That thy adulteries
Rates and revenges.
Hath my poor boy done aught but well,
Whose face I never saw?
I died whilst in the womb he stay’d
Attending nature’s law:
Whose father then, as men report
Thou orphans’ father art,
Thou shouldst have been, and shielded him
From this earth-vexing smart.

Mother
Lucina lent not me her aid,
But took me in my throes;
That from me was Posthumus ript,
Came crying ‘mongst his foes,
A thing of pity!

Sicilius Leonatus
Great nature, like his ancestry,
Moulded the stuff so fair,
That he deserved the praise o’ the world,
As great Sicilius’ heir.

First Brother
When once he was mature for man,
In Britain where was he
That could stand up his parallel;
Or fruitful object be
In eye of Imogen, that best
Could deem his dignity?

Mother
With marriage wherefore was he mock’d,
To be exiled, and thrown
From Leonati seat, and cast
From her his dearest one,
Sweet Imogen?

Sicilius Leonatus
Why did you suffer Iachimo,
Slight thing of Italy,
To taint his nobler heart and brain
With needless jealosy;
And to become the geck and scorn
O’ th’ other’s villany?

Second Brother
For this from stiller seats we came,
Our parents and us twain,
That striking in our country’s cause
Fell bravely and were slain,
Our fealty and Tenantius’ right
With honour to maintain.

First Brother
Like hardiment Posthumus hath
To Cymbeline perform’d:
Then, Jupiter, thou king of gods,
Why hast thou thus adjourn’d
The graces for his merits due,
Being all to dolours turn’d?

Sicilius Leonatus
Thy crystal window ope; look out;
No longer exercise
Upon a valiant race thy harsh
And potent injuries.

Mother
Since, Jupiter, our son is good,
Take off his miseries.

Sicilius Leonatus
Peep through thy marble mansion; help;
Or we poor ghosts will cry
To the shining synod of the rest
Against thy deity.

First Brother Second Brother
Help, Jupiter; or we appeal,
And from thy justice fly.

Jupiter descends in thunder and lightning, sitting upon an eagle: he throws a thunderbolt. The Apparitions fall on their knees

Jupiter
No more, you petty spirits of region low,
Offend our hearing; hush! How dare you ghosts
Accuse the thunderer, whose bolt, you know,
Sky-planted batters all rebelling coasts?
Poor shadows of Elysium, hence, and rest
Upon your never-withering banks of flowers:
Be not with mortal accidents opprest;
No care of yours it is; you know ’tis ours.
Whom best I love I cross; to make my gift,
The more delay’d, delighted. Be content;
Your low-laid son our godhead will uplift:
His comforts thrive, his trials well are spent.
Our Jovial star reign’d at his birth, and in
Our temple was he married. Rise, and fade.
He shall be lord of lady Imogen,
And happier much by his affliction made.
This tablet lay upon his breast, wherein
Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine:
and so, away: no further with your din
Express impatience, lest you stir up mine.
Mount, eagle, to my palace crystalline.

Ascends

Sicilius Leonatus
He came in thunder; his celestial breath
Was sulphurous to smell: the holy eagle
Stoop’d as to foot us: his ascension is
More sweet than our blest fields: his royal bird
Prunes the immortal wing and cloys his beak,
As when his god is pleased.

All
Thanks, Jupiter!

Sicilius Leonatus
The marble pavement closes, he is enter’d
His radiant root. Away! and, to be blest,
Let us with care perform his great behest.

The Apparitions vanish

Posthumus Leonatus
[Waking] Sleep, thou hast been a grandsire, and begot
A father to me; and thou hast created
A mother and two brothers: but, O scorn!
Gone! they went hence so soon as they were born:
And so I am awake. Poor wretches that depend
On greatness’ favour dream as I have done,
Wake and find nothing. But, alas, I swerve:
Many dream not to find, neither deserve,
And yet are steep’d in favours: so am I,
That have this golden chance and know not why.
What fairies haunt this ground? A book? O rare one!
Be not, as is our fangled world, a garment
Nobler than that it covers: let thy effects
So follow, to be most unlike our courtiers,
As good as promise.

Reads

‘When as a lion’s whelp shall, to himself unknown,
without seeking find, and be embraced by a piece of
tender air; and when from a stately cedar shall be
lopped branches, which, being dead many years,
shall after revive, be jointed to the old stock and
freshly grow; then shall Posthumus end his miseries,
Britain be fortunate and flourish in peace and plenty.’
‘Tis still a dream, or else such stuff as madmen
Tongue and brain not; either both or nothing;
Or senseless speaking or a speaking such
As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,
The action of my life is like it, which
I’ll keep, if but for sympathy.

Re-enter First Gaoler

First Gaoler
Come, sir, are you ready for death?

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Over-roasted rather; ready long ago.

First Gaoler
Hanging is the word, sir: if
you be ready for that, you are well cooked.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
So, if I prove a good repast to the
spectators, the dish pays the shot.

First Gaoler
A heavy reckoning for you, sir. But the comfort is,
you shall be called to no more payments, fear no
more tavern-bills; which are often the sadness of
parting, as the procuring of mirth: you come in
flint for want of meat, depart reeling with too
much drink; sorry that you have paid too much, and
sorry that you are paid too much; purse and brain
both empty; the brain the heavier for being too
light, the purse too light, being drawn of
heaviness: of this contradiction you shall now be
quit. O, the charity of a penny cord! It sums up
thousands in a trice: you have no true debitor and
creditor but it; of what’s past, is, and to come,
the discharge: your neck, sir, is pen, book and
counters; so the acquittance follows.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
I am merrier to die than thou art to live.

First Gaoler
Indeed, sir, he that sleeps feels not the
tooth-ache: but a man that were to sleep your
sleep, and a hangman to help him to bed, I think he
would change places with his officer; for, look you,
sir, you know not which way you shall go.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Yes, indeed do I, fellow.

First Gaoler
Your death has eyes in ‘s head then; I have not seen
him so pictured: you must either be directed by
some that take upon them to know, or do take upon
yourself that which I am sure you do not know, or
jump the after inquiry on your own peril: and how
you shall speed in your journey’s end, I think you’ll
never return to tell one.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
I tell thee, fellow, there are none want eyes to
direct them the way I am going, but such as wink and
will not use them.

First Gaoler
What an infinite mock is this, that a man should
have the best use of eyes to see the way of
blindness! I am sure hanging’s the way of winking.

Enter a Messenger

Messenger
Knock off his manacles; bring your prisoner to the king.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Thou bring’st good news; I am called to be made free.

First Gaoler
I’ll be hang’d then.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Thou shalt be then freer than a gaoler; no bolts for the dead.

Exeunt POSTHUMUS LEONATUS and Messenger

First Gaoler
Unless a man would marry a gallows and beget young
gibbets, I never saw one so prone. Yet, on my
conscience, there are verier knaves desire to live,
for all he be a Roman: and there be some of them
too that die against their wills; so should I, if I
were one. I would we were all of one mind, and one
mind good; O, there were desolation of gaolers and
gallowses! I speak against my present profit, but
my wish hath a preferment in ‘t.

Exeunt

SCENE V. Cymbeline’s tent.

Enter CYMBELINE, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS, PISANIO, Lords, Officers, and Attendants
CYMBELINE
Stand by my side, you whom the gods have made
Preservers of my throne. Woe is my heart
That the poor soldier that so richly fought,
Whose rags shamed gilded arms, whose naked breast
Stepp’d before larges of proof, cannot be found:
He shall be happy that can find him, if
Our grace can make him so.

BELARIUS
I never saw
Such noble fury in so poor a thing;
Such precious deeds in one that promises nought
But beggary and poor looks.

CYMBELINE
No tidings of him?

PISANIO
He hath been search’d among the dead and living,
But no trace of him.

CYMBELINE
To my grief, I am
The heir of his reward;

To BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS

which I will add
To you, the liver, heart and brain of Britain,
By whom I grant she lives. ‘Tis now the time
To ask of whence you are. Report it.

BELARIUS
Sir,
In Cambria are we born, and gentlemen:
Further to boast were neither true nor modest,
Unless I add, we are honest.

CYMBELINE
Bow your knees.
Arise my knights o’ the battle: I create you
Companions to our person and will fit you
With dignities becoming your estates.

Enter CORNELIUS and Ladies

There’s business in these faces. Why so sadly
Greet you our victory? you look like Romans,
And not o’ the court of Britain.

CORNELIUS
Hail, great king!
To sour your happiness, I must report
The queen is dead.

CYMBELINE
Who worse than a physician
Would this report become? But I consider,
By medicine life may be prolong’d, yet death
Will seize the doctor too. How ended she?

CORNELIUS
With horror, madly dying, like her life,
Which, being cruel to the world, concluded
Most cruel to herself. What she confess’d
I will report, so please you: these her women
Can trip me, if I err; who with wet cheeks
Were present when she finish’d.

CYMBELINE
Prithee, say.

CORNELIUS
First, she confess’d she never loved you, only
Affected greatness got by you, not you:
Married your royalty, was wife to your place;
Abhorr’d your person.

CYMBELINE
She alone knew this;
And, but she spoke it dying, I would not
Believe her lips in opening it. Proceed.

CORNELIUS
Your daughter, whom she bore in hand to love
With such integrity, she did confess
Was as a scorpion to her sight; whose life,
But that her flight prevented it, she had
Ta’en off by poison.

CYMBELINE
O most delicate fiend!
Who is ‘t can read a woman? Is there more?

CORNELIUS
More, sir, and worse. She did confess she had
For you a mortal mineral; which, being took,
Should by the minute feed on life and lingering
By inches waste you: in which time she purposed,
By watching, weeping, tendance, kissing, to
O’ercome you with her show, and in time,
When she had fitted you with her craft, to work
Her son into the adoption of the crown:
But, failing of her end by his strange absence,
Grew shameless-desperate; open’d, in despite
Of heaven and men, her purposes; repented
The evils she hatch’d were not effected; so
Despairing died.

CYMBELINE
Heard you all this, her women?

First Lady
We did, so please your highness.

CYMBELINE
Mine eyes
Were not in fault, for she was beautiful;
Mine ears, that heard her flattery; nor my heart,
That thought her like her seeming; it had
been vicious
To have mistrusted her: yet, O my daughter!
That it was folly in me, thou mayst say,
And prove it in thy feeling. Heaven mend all!

Enter LUCIUS, IACHIMO, the Soothsayer, and other Roman Prisoners, guarded; POSTHUMUS LEONATUS behind, and IMOGEN

Thou comest not, Caius, now for tribute that
The Britons have razed out, though with the loss
Of many a bold one; whose kinsmen have made suit
That their good souls may be appeased with slaughter
Of you their captives, which ourself have granted:
So think of your estate.

CAIUS LUCIUS
Consider, sir, the chance of war: the day
Was yours by accident; had it gone with us,
We should not, when the blood was cool,
have threaten’d
Our prisoners with the sword. But since the gods
Will have it thus, that nothing but our lives
May be call’d ransom, let it come: sufficeth
A Roman with a Roman’s heart can suffer:
Augustus lives to think on’t: and so much
For my peculiar care. This one thing only
I will entreat; my boy, a Briton born,
Let him be ransom’d: never master had
A page so kind, so duteous, diligent,
So tender over his occasions, true,
So feat, so nurse-like: let his virtue join
With my request, which I make bold your highness
Cannot deny; he hath done no Briton harm,
Though he have served a Roman: save him, sir,
And spare no blood beside.

CYMBELINE
I have surely seen him:
His favour is familiar to me. Boy,
Thou hast look’d thyself into my grace,
And art mine own. I know not why, wherefore,
To say ‘live, boy:’ ne’er thank thy master; live:
And ask of Cymbeline what boon thou wilt,
Fitting my bounty and thy state, I’ll give it;
Yea, though thou do demand a prisoner,
The noblest ta’en.

IMOGEN
I humbly thank your highness.

CAIUS LUCIUS
I do not bid thee beg my life, good lad;
And yet I know thou wilt.

IMOGEN
No, no: alack,
There’s other work in hand: I see a thing
Bitter to me as death: your life, good master,
Must shuffle for itself.

CAIUS LUCIUS
The boy disdains me,
He leaves me, scorns me: briefly die their joys
That place them on the truth of girls and boys.
Why stands he so perplex’d?

CYMBELINE
What wouldst thou, boy?
I love thee more and more: think more and more
What’s best to ask. Know’st him thou look’st on? speak,
Wilt have him live? Is he thy kin? thy friend?

IMOGEN
He is a Roman; no more kin to me
Than I to your highness; who, being born your vassal,
Am something nearer.

CYMBELINE
Wherefore eyest him so?

IMOGEN
I’ll tell you, sir, in private, if you please
To give me hearing.

CYMBELINE
Ay, with all my heart,
And lend my best attention. What’s thy name?

IMOGEN
Fidele, sir.

CYMBELINE
Thou’rt my good youth, my page;
I’ll be thy master: walk with me; speak freely.

CYMBELINE and IMOGEN converse apart

BELARIUS
Is not this boy revived from death?

ARVIRAGUS
One sand another
Not more resembles that sweet rosy lad
Who died, and was Fidele. What think you?

GUIDERIUS
The same dead thing alive.

BELARIUS
Peace, peace! see further; he eyes us not; forbear;
Creatures may be alike: were ‘t he, I am sure
He would have spoke to us.

GUIDERIUS
But we saw him dead.

BELARIUS
Be silent; let’s see further.

PISANIO
[Aside] It is my mistress:
Since she is living, let the time run on
To good or bad.

CYMBELINE and IMOGEN come forward

CYMBELINE
Come, stand thou by our side;
Make thy demand aloud.

To IACHIMO

Sir, step you forth;
Give answer to this boy, and do it freely;
Or, by our greatness and the grace of it,
Which is our honour, bitter torture shall
Winnow the truth from falsehood. On, speak to him.

IMOGEN
My boon is, that this gentleman may render
Of whom he had this ring.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
[Aside] What’s that to him?

CYMBELINE
That diamond upon your finger, say
How came it yours?

IACHIMO
Thou’lt torture me to leave unspoken that
Which, to be spoke, would torture thee.

CYMBELINE
How! me?

IACHIMO
I am glad to be constrain’d to utter that
Which torments me to conceal. By villany
I got this ring: ’twas Leonatus’ jewel;
Whom thou didst banish; and–which more may
grieve thee,
As it doth me–a nobler sir ne’er lived
‘Twixt sky and ground. Wilt thou hear more, my lord?

CYMBELINE
All that belongs to this.

IACHIMO
That paragon, thy daughter,–
For whom my heart drops blood, and my false spirits
Quail to remember–Give me leave; I faint.

CYMBELINE
My daughter! what of her? Renew thy strength:
I had rather thou shouldst live while nature will
Than die ere I hear more: strive, man, and speak.

IACHIMO
Upon a time,–unhappy was the clock
That struck the hour!–it was in Rome,–accursed
The mansion where!–’twas at a feast,–O, would
Our viands had been poison’d, or at least
Those which I heaved to head!–the good Posthumus–
What should I say? he was too good to be
Where ill men were; and was the best of all
Amongst the rarest of good ones,–sitting sadly,
Hearing us praise our loves of Italy
For beauty that made barren the swell’d boast
Of him that best could speak, for feature, laming
The shrine of Venus, or straight-pight Minerva.
Postures beyond brief nature, for condition,
A shop of all the qualities that man
Loves woman for, besides that hook of wiving,
Fairness which strikes the eye–

CYMBELINE
I stand on fire:
Come to the matter.

IACHIMO
All too soon I shall,
Unless thou wouldst grieve quickly. This Posthumus,
Most like a noble lord in love and one
That had a royal lover, took his hint;
And, not dispraising whom we praised,–therein
He was as calm as virtue–he began
His mistress’ picture; which by his tongue
being made,
And then a mind put in’t, either our brags
Were crack’d of kitchen-trolls, or his description
Proved us unspeaking sots.

CYMBELINE
Nay, nay, to the purpose.

IACHIMO
Your daughter’s chastity–there it begins.
He spake of her, as Dian had hot dreams,
And she alone were cold: whereat I, wretch,
Made scruple of his praise; and wager’d with him
Pieces of gold ‘gainst this which then he wore
Upon his honour’d finger, to attain
In suit the place of’s bed and win this ring
By hers and mine adultery. He, true knight,
No lesser of her honour confident
Than I did truly find her, stakes this ring;
And would so, had it been a carbuncle
Of Phoebus’ wheel, and might so safely, had it
Been all the worth of’s car. Away to Britain
Post I in this design: well may you, sir,
Remember me at court; where I was taught
Of your chaste daughter the wide difference
‘Twixt amorous and villanous. Being thus quench’d
Of hope, not longing, mine Italian brain
‘Gan in your duller Britain operate
Most vilely; for my vantage, excellent:
And, to be brief, my practise so prevail’d,
That I return’d with simular proof enough
To make the noble Leonatus mad,
By wounding his belief in her renown
With tokens thus, and thus; averting notes
Of chamber-hanging, pictures, this her bracelet,–
O cunning, how I got it!–nay, some marks
Of secret on her person, that he could not
But think her bond of chastity quite crack’d,
I having ta’en the forfeit. Whereupon–
Methinks, I see him now–

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
[Advancing] Ay, so thou dost,
Italian fiend! Ay me, most credulous fool,
Egregious murderer, thief, any thing
That’s due to all the villains past, in being,
To come! O, give me cord, or knife, or poison,
Some upright justicer! Thou, king, send out
For torturers ingenious: it is I
That all the abhorred things o’ the earth amend
By being worse than they. I am Posthumus,
That kill’d thy daughter:–villain-like, I lie–
That caused a lesser villain than myself,
A sacrilegious thief, to do’t: the temple
Of virtue was she; yea, and she herself.
Spit, and throw stone s, cast mire upon me, set
The dogs o’ the street to bay me: every villain
Be call’d Posthumus Leonitus; and
Be villany less than ’twas! O Imogen!
My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen,
Imogen, Imogen!

IMOGEN
Peace, my lord; hear, hear–

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Shall’s have a play of this? Thou scornful page,
There lie thy part.

Striking her: she falls

PISANIO
O, gentlemen, help!
Mine and your mistress! O, my lord Posthumus!
You ne’er kill’d Imogen til now. Help, help!
Mine honour’d lady!

CYMBELINE
Does the world go round?

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
How come these staggers on me?

PISANIO
Wake, my mistress!

CYMBELINE
If this be so, the gods do mean to strike me
To death with mortal joy.

PISANIO
How fares thy mistress?

IMOGEN
O, get thee from my sight;
Thou gavest me poison: dangerous fellow, hence!
Breathe not where princes are.

CYMBELINE
The tune of Imogen!

PISANIO
Lady,
The gods throw stones of sulphur on me, if
That box I gave you was not thought by me
A precious thing: I had it from the queen.

CYMBELINE
New matter still?

IMOGEN
It poison’d me.

CORNELIUS
O gods!
I left out one thing which the queen confess’d.
Which must approve thee honest: ‘If Pisanio
Have,’ said she, ‘given his mistress that confection
Which I gave him for cordial, she is served
As I would serve a rat.’

CYMBELINE
What’s this, Comelius?

CORNELIUS
The queen, sir, very oft importuned me
To temper poisons for her, still pretending
The satisfaction of her knowledge only
In killing creatures vile, as cats and dogs,
Of no esteem: I, dreading that her purpose
Was of more danger, did compound for her
A certain stuff, which, being ta’en, would cease
The present power of life, but in short time
All offices of nature should again
Do their due functions. Have you ta’en of it?

IMOGEN
Most like I did, for I was dead.

BELARIUS
My boys,
There was our error.

GUIDERIUS
This is, sure, Fidele.

IMOGEN
Why did you throw your wedded lady from you?
Think that you are upon a rock; and now
Throw me again.

Embracing him

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Hang there like a fruit, my soul,
Till the tree die!

CYMBELINE
How now, my flesh, my child!
What, makest thou me a dullard in this act?
Wilt thou not speak to me?

IMOGEN
[Kneeling] Your blessing, sir.

BELARIUS
[To GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS] Though you did love
this youth, I blame ye not:
You had a motive for’t.

CYMBELINE
My tears that fall
Prove holy water on thee! Imogen,
Thy mother’s dead.

IMOGEN
I am sorry for’t, my lord.

CYMBELINE
O, she was nought; and long of her it was
That we meet here so strangely: but her son
Is gone, we know not how nor where.

PISANIO
My lord,
Now fear is from me, I’ll speak troth. Lord Cloten,
Upon my lady’s missing, came to me
With his sword drawn; foam’d at the mouth, and swore,
If I discover’d not which way she was gone,
It was my instant death. By accident,
had a feigned letter of my master’s
Then in my pocket; which directed him
To seek her on the mountains near to Milford;
Where, in a frenzy, in my master’s garments,
Which he enforced from me, away he posts
With unchaste purpose and with oath to violate
My lady’s honour: what became of him
I further know not.

GUIDERIUS
Let me end the story:
I slew him there.

CYMBELINE
Marry, the gods forfend!
I would not thy good deeds should from my lips
Pluck a bard sentence: prithee, valiant youth,
Deny’t again.

GUIDERIUS
I have spoke it, and I did it.

CYMBELINE
He was a prince.

GUIDERIUS
A most incivil one: the wrongs he did me
Were nothing prince-like; for he did provoke me
With language that would make me spurn the sea,
If it could so roar to me: I cut off’s head;
And am right glad he is not standing here
To tell this tale of mine.

CYMBELINE
I am sorry for thee:
By thine own tongue thou art condemn’d, and must
Endure our law: thou’rt dead.

IMOGEN
That headless man
I thought had been my lord.

CYMBELINE
Bind the offender,
And take him from our presence.

BELARIUS
Stay, sir king:
This man is better than the man he slew,
As well descended as thyself; and hath
More of thee merited than a band of Clotens
Had ever scar for.

To the Guard

Let his arms alone;
They were not born for bondage.

CYMBELINE
Why, old soldier,
Wilt thou undo the worth thou art unpaid for,
By tasting of our wrath? How of descent
As good as we?

ARVIRAGUS
In that he spake too far.

CYMBELINE
And thou shalt die for’t.

BELARIUS
We will die all three:
But I will prove that two on’s are as good
As I have given out him. My sons, I must,
For mine own part, unfold a dangerous speech,
Though, haply, well for you.

ARVIRAGUS
Your danger’s ours.

GUIDERIUS
And our good his.

BELARIUS
Have at it then, by leave.
Thou hadst, great king, a subject who
Was call’d Belarius.

CYMBELINE
What of him? he is
A banish’d traitor.

BELARIUS
He it is that hath
Assumed this age; indeed a banish’d man;
I know not how a traitor.

CYMBELINE
Take him hence:
The whole world shall not save him.

BELARIUS
Not too hot:
First pay me for the nursing of thy sons;
And let it be confiscate all, so soon
As I have received it.

CYMBELINE
Nursing of my sons!

BELARIUS
I am too blunt and saucy: here’s my knee:
Ere I arise, I will prefer my sons;
Then spare not the old father. Mighty sir,
These two young gentlemen, that call me father
And think they are my sons, are none of mine;
They are the issue of your loins, my liege,
And blood of your begetting.

CYMBELINE
How! my issue!

BELARIUS
So sure as you your father’s. I, old Morgan,
Am that Belarius whom you sometime banish’d:
Your pleasure was my mere offence, my punishment
Itself, and all my treason; that I suffer’d
Was all the harm I did. These gentle princes–
For such and so they are–these twenty years
Have I train’d up: those arts they have as I
Could put into them; my breeding was, sir, as
Your highness knows. Their nurse, Euriphile,
Whom for Theft I wedded, stole these children
Upon my banishment: I moved her to’t,
Having received the punishment before,
For that which I did then: beaten for loyalty
Excited me to treason: their dear loss,
The more of you ’twas felt, the more it shaped
Unto my end of stealing them. But, gracious sir,
Here are your sons again; and I must lose
Two of the sweet’st companions in the world.
The benediction of these covering heavens
Fall on their heads like dew! for they are worthy
To inlay heaven with stars.

CYMBELINE
Thou weep’st, and speak’st.
The service that you three have done is more
Unlike than this thou tell’st. I lost my children:
If these be they, I know not how to wish
A pair of worthier sons.

BELARIUS
Be pleased awhile.
This gentleman, whom I call Polydore,
Most worthy prince, as yours, is true Guiderius:
This gentleman, my Cadwal, Arviragus,
Your younger princely son; he, sir, was lapp’d
In a most curious mantle, wrought by the hand
Of his queen mother, which for more probation
I can with ease produce.

CYMBELINE
Guiderius had
Upon his neck a mole, a sanguine star;
It was a mark of wonder.

BELARIUS
This is he;
Who hath upon him still that natural stamp:
It was wise nature’s end in the donation,
To be his evidence now.

CYMBELINE
O, what, am I
A mother to the birth of three? Ne’er mother
Rejoiced deliverance more. Blest pray you be,
That, after this strange starting from your orbs,
may reign in them now! O Imogen,
Thou hast lost by this a kingdom.

IMOGEN
No, my lord;
I have got two worlds by ‘t. O my gentle brothers,
Have we thus met? O, never say hereafter
But I am truest speaker you call’d me brother,
When I was but your sister; I you brothers,
When ye were so indeed.

CYMBELINE
Did you e’er meet?

ARVIRAGUS
Ay, my good lord.

GUIDERIUS
And at first meeting loved;
Continued so, until we thought he died.

CORNELIUS
By the queen’s dram she swallow’d.

CYMBELINE
O rare instinct!
When shall I hear all through? This fierce
abridgement
Hath to it circumstantial branches, which
Distinction should be rich in. Where? how lived You?
And when came you to serve our Roman captive?
How parted with your brothers? how first met them?
Why fled you from the court? and whither? These,
And your three motives to the battle, with
I know not how much more, should be demanded;
And all the other by-dependencies,
From chance to chance: but nor the time nor place
Will serve our long inter’gatories. See,
Posthumus anchors upon Imogen,
And she, like harmless lightning, throws her eye
On him, her brother, me, her master, hitting
Each object with a joy: the counterchange
Is severally in all. Let’s quit this ground,
And smoke the temple with our sacrifices.

To BELARIUS

Thou art my brother; so we’ll hold thee ever.

IMOGEN
You are my father too, and did relieve me,
To see this gracious season.

CYMBELINE
All o’erjoy’d,
Save these in bonds: let them be joyful too,
For they shall taste our comfort.

IMOGEN
My good master,
I will yet do you service.

CAIUS LUCIUS
Happy be you!

CYMBELINE
The forlorn soldier, that so nobly fought,
He would have well becomed this place, and graced
The thankings of a king.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
I am, sir,
The soldier that did company these three
In poor beseeming; ’twas a fitment for
The purpose I then follow’d. That I was he,
Speak, Iachimo: I had you down and might
Have made you finish.

IACHIMO
[Kneeling] I am down again:
But now my heavy conscience sinks my knee,
As then your force did. Take that life, beseech you,
Which I so often owe: but your ring first;
And here the bracelet of the truest princess
That ever swore her faith.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Kneel not to me:
The power that I have on you is, to spare you;
The malice towards you to forgive you: live,
And deal with others better.

CYMBELINE
Nobly doom’d!
We’ll learn our freeness of a son-in-law;
Pardon’s the word to all.

ARVIRAGUS
You holp us, sir,
As you did mean indeed to be our brother;
Joy’d are we that you are.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Your servant, princes. Good my lord of Rome,
Call forth your soothsayer: as I slept, methought
Great Jupiter, upon his eagle back’d,
Appear’d to me, with other spritely shows
Of mine own kindred: when I waked, I found
This label on my bosom; whose containing
Is so from sense in hardness, that I can
Make no collection of it: let him show
His skill in the construction.

CAIUS LUCIUS
Philarmonus!

Soothsayer
Here, my good lord.

CAIUS LUCIUS
Read, and declare the meaning.

Soothsayer
[Reads] ‘When as a lion’s whelp shall, to himself
unknown, without seeking find, and be embraced by a
piece of tender air; and when from a stately cedar
shall be lopped branches, which, being dead many
years, shall after revive, be jointed to the old
stock, and freshly grow; then shall Posthumus end
his miseries, Britain be fortunate and flourish in
peace and plenty.’
Thou, Leonatus, art the lion’s whelp;
The fit and apt construction of thy name,
Being Leonatus, doth import so much.

To CYMBELINE

The piece of tender air, thy virtuous daughter,
Which we call ‘mollis aer;’ and ‘mollis aer’
We term it ‘mulier:’ which ‘mulier’ I divine
Is this most constant wife; who, even now,
Answering the letter of the oracle,
Unknown to you, unsought, were clipp’d about
With this most tender air.

CYMBELINE
This hath some seeming.

Soothsayer
The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline,
Personates thee: and thy lopp’d branches point
Thy two sons forth; who, by Belarius stol’n,
For many years thought dead, are now revived,
To the majestic cedar join’d, whose issue
Promises Britain peace and plenty.

CYMBELINE
Well
My peace we will begin. And, Caius Lucius,
Although the victor, we submit to Caesar,
And to the Roman empire; promising
To pay our wonted tribute, from the which
We were dissuaded by our wicked queen;
Whom heavens, in justice, both on her and hers,
Have laid most heavy hand.

Soothsayer
The fingers of the powers above do tune
The harmony of this peace. The vision
Which I made known to Lucius, ere the stroke
Of this yet scarce-cold battle, at this instant
Is full accomplish’d; for the Roman eagle,
From south to west on wing soaring aloft,
Lessen’d herself, and in the beams o’ the sun
So vanish’d: which foreshow’d our princely eagle,
The imperial Caesar, should again unite
His favour with the radiant Cymbeline,
Which shines here in the west.

CYMBELINE
Laud we the gods;
And let our crooked smokes climb to their nostrils
From our blest altars. Publish we this peace
To all our subjects. Set we forward: let
A Roman and a British ensign wave
Friendly together: so through Lud’s-town march:
And in the temple of great Jupiter
Our peace we’ll ratify; seal it with feasts.
Set on there! Never was a war did cease,
Ere bloody hands were wash’d, with such a peace.

Exeunt


Apprentice in Death

by J.D. Robb

Click here to learn more about

J.D. Robb

To buy this book click on either of the links below

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Goodreads


Three Sisters, Three Queens

by Philippa Gregory

Click here to learn more about

Philippa Gregory

To buy this book click on either of the links below

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Goodreads


Our Time, Our Love©

By Felina Silver

Copyright© 1997

Feelings of warmth and affection for things here and gone

In time we’ll find the answers of where and why we are

Where did we come from? And where are we going?

I find myself still waiting

For his return home

Will he find me?

Will he still want me?

Will he stay here in our time?

Will he hold onto to our love?

It’s only a day away

I find that I’m not alone

So many around me

With love and kindness

Hugs and kisses

Smiles and laughter

Isn’t it amazing that time and love remain?

No pressure

No demands

Only the feeling of wanting to be near you


The Right Time©

By Felina Silver

Copyright© 1988

It’s never good to think that we know all of what we see

So quick to judge or assume, often turns out to be that we were as wrong as could be

You may never know of what was lost because of what you thought you knew

The love of your life

 The job you have always wanted

   A friend for life

    The child you’ve been searching for

All these things having been lost to judgment or assumption

Too precious to be lost forever or replaced by another

Open your heart and let love in, you’d be surprised at how very easy it is


Sting

by Sandra Brown

Click here to learn more about

Sandra Brown

To buy this book click on either of the links below

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Goodreads


Cymbeline, ACT III
SCENE I. Britain. A hall in Cymbeline’s palace.

Cymbeline Act III. Scene IV

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?

CAIUS 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, ribbed and paled in
With rocks unscalable and roaring waters,
With sands that will not bear your enemies’ boats,
But suck them up to the topmast. A kind of conquest
Caesar made here; but made not here his brag
Of ‘Came’ and ‘saw’ and ‘overcame: ‘ with shame–
That first that ever touch’d him–he was carried
From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping–
Poor ignorant baubles!– upon our terrible seas,
Like egg-shells moved upon their surges, crack’d
As easily ‘gainst our rocks: for joy whereof
The famed 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’ the 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 Lords
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.

CAIUS LUCIUS
I am sorry, Cymbeline,
That I am to pronounce Augustus Caesar–
Caesar, that hath more 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.

CAIUS 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.

CAIUS LUCIUS
So, sir.

CYMBELINE
I know your master’s pleasure and he mine:
All the remain is ‘Welcome!’

Exeunt

SCENE II. Another room in the palace.

Enter PISANIO, with a letter
PISANIO
How? of adultery? Wherefore write you not
What monster’s her accuser? Leonatus,
O master! what a strange infection
Is fall’n into thy ear! What false Italian,
As poisonous-tongued as handed, hath prevail’d
On thy too ready hearing? Disloyal! No:
She’s punish’d for her truth, and undergoes,
More goddess-like than wife-like, such assaults
As would take in some virtue. O my master!
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?

Reading

‘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 feodary for this act, and look’st
So virgin-like without? Lo, here she comes.
I am ignorant in what I am commanded.

Enter IMOGEN

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’ld lay the future open. You good gods,
Let what is here contain’d relish of love,
Of my lord’s health, of his content, yet not
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,–
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 the smothering of the sense–how far it is
To this same blessed Milford: and by the way
Tell me how Wales was made so happy as
To inherit such a haven: but first of all,
How we may steal from hence, and for the gap
That we shall make in time, from our hence-going
And our return, to excuse: but first, how get hence:
Why should excuse be born or e’er begot?
We’ll talk of that hereafter. Prithee, speak,
How many score of miles may we well ride
‘Twixt hour and hour?

PISANIO
One score ‘twixt sun and sun,
Madam, ‘s enough for you:

Aside

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’ the clock’s behalf. But this is foolery:
Go bid my woman feign a sickness; say
She’ll home to her father: and provide me presently
A riding-suit, no costlier than would fit
A franklin’s housewife.

PISANIO
Madam, you’re best consider.

IMOGEN
I see before me, man: nor here, nor here,
Nor what ensues, but have a fog in them,
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

SCENE III. Wales: a mountainous country with a cave.

Enter, from the cave, BELARIUS; GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS following
BELARIUS
A goodly day not to keep house, with such
Whose roof’s as low as ours! Stoop, boys; this gate
Instructs you how to 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’ the 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 cheque,
Richer than doing nothing for a bauble,
Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk:
Such gain the cap of him that makes ’em fine,
Yet keeps his book uncross’d: no life to ours.

GUIDERIUS
Out of your proof you speak: we, poor unfledged,
Have never wing’d from view o’ the 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 a-bed;
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 quire, 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’ the court
As hard to leave as keep; whose top to climb
Is certain falling, or so slippery that
The fear’s as bad as falling; the toil o’ the war,
A pain that only seems to seek out danger
I’ the name of fame and honour; which dies i’
the search,
And hath as oft a slanderous epitaph
As record of fair act; nay, many times,
Doth ill deserve by doing well; what’s worse,
Must court’sy 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 loved me,
And when a soldier was 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 lived at honest freedom, paid
More pious debts to heaven than in all
The fore-end of my time. But up to the mountains!
This is not hunters’ language: he that strikes
The venison first shall be the lord o’ the 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 the king;
Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive.
They think they are mine; and though train’d
up thus meanly
I’ the 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 roused!
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 reft’st 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

SCENE IV. Country near Milford-Haven.

Enter PISANIO and IMOGEN
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 the inward of thee? One, but painted thus,
Would be interpreted a thing perplex’d
Beyond self-explication: put thyself
Into a havior 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 countenance 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 played 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 pandar to her dishonour and
equally to me disloyal.’

PISANIO
What shall I need to draw my sword? the paper
Hath cut her throat already. No, ’tis slander,
Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue
Outvenoms all the worms of Nile, whose breath
Rides on the posting winds and doth belie
All corners of the world: kings, queens and states,
Maids, matrons, nay, the secrets of the grave
This viperous slander enters. What cheer, madam?

IMOGEN
False to his bed! What is it to be false?
To lie in watch there and to think on him?
To weep ‘twixt clock and clock? if sleep
charge nature,
To break it with a fearful dream of him
And cry myself awake? that’s false to’s bed, is it?

PISANIO
Alas, good lady!

IMOGEN
I false! Thy conscience witness: Iachimo,
Thou didst accuse him of incontinency;
Thou then look’dst like a villain; now methinks
Thy favour’s good enough. Some jay of Italy
Whose mother was her painting, hath betray’d him:
Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion;
And, for I am richer than to hang by the walls,
I must be ripp’d:–to pieces with me!–O,
Men’s vows are women’s traitors! All good seeming,
By thy revolt, O husband, shall be thought
Put on for villany; not born where’t grows,
But worn a bait for ladies.

PISANIO
Good madam, hear me.

IMOGEN
True honest men being heard, like false Aeneas,
Were in his time thought false, and Sinon’s weeping
Did scandal many a holy tear, took pity
From most true wretchedness: so thou, Posthumus,
Wilt lay the leaven on all proper men;
Goodly and gallant shall be false and perjured
From thy great fall. Come, fellow, be thou honest:
Do thou thy master’s bidding: when thou see’st him,
A little witness my obedience: look!
I draw the sword myself: take it, and hit
The innocent mansion of my love, my heart;
Fear not; ’tis empty of all things but grief;
Thy master is not there, who was indeed
The riches of it: do his bidding; strike
Thou mayst be valiant in a better cause;
But now thou seem’st a coward.

PISANIO
Hence, vile instrument!
Thou shalt not damn my hand.

IMOGEN
Why, I must die;
And if I do not by thy hand, thou art
No servant of thy master’s. Against self-slaughter
There is a prohibition so divine
That cravens my weak hand. Come, here’s my heart.
Something’s afore’t. Soft, soft! we’ll no defence;
Obedient as the scabbard. What is here?
The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus,
All turn’d to heresy? Away, away,
Corrupters of my faith! you shall no more
Be stomachers to my heart. Thus may poor fools
Believe false teachers: though those that
are betray’d
Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor
Stands in worse case of woe.
And thou, Posthumus, thou that didst set up
My disobedience ‘gainst the king my father
And make me put into contempt the suits
Of princely fellows, shalt hereafter find
It is no act of common passage, but
A strain of rareness: and I grieve myself
To think, when thou shalt be disedged by her
That now thou tirest on, how thy memory
Will then be pang’d by me. Prithee, dispatch:
The lamb entreats the butcher: where’s thy knife?
Thou art too slow to do thy master’s bidding,
When I desire it too.

PISANIO
O gracious lady,
Since I received command to do this business
I have not slept one wink.

IMOGEN
Do’t, and to bed then.

PISANIO
I’ll wake mine eye-balls blind first.

IMOGEN
Wherefore then
Didst undertake it? Why hast thou abused
So many miles with a pretence? this place?
Mine action and thine own? our horses’ labour?
The time inviting thee? the perturb’d court,
For my being absent? whereunto I never
Purpose return. Why hast thou gone so far,
To be unbent when thou hast ta’en thy stand,
The elected deer before thee?

PISANIO
But to win time
To lose so bad employment; in the which
I have consider’d of a course. Good lady,
Hear me with patience.

IMOGEN
Talk thy tongue weary; speak
I have heard I am a strumpet; and mine ear
Therein false struck, can take no greater wound,
Nor tent to bottom that. But speak.

PISANIO
Then, madam,
I thought you would not back again.

IMOGEN
Most like;
Bringing me here to kill me.

PISANIO
Not so, neither:
But if I were as wise as honest, then
My purpose would prove well. It cannot be
But that my master is abused:
Some villain, ay, and singular in his art.
Hath done you both this cursed injury.

IMOGEN
Some Roman courtezan.

PISANIO
No, on my life.
I’ll give but notice you are dead and send him
Some bloody sign of it; for ’tis commanded
I should do so: you shall be miss’d at court,
And that will well confirm it.

IMOGEN
Why good fellow,
What shall I do the where? where bide? how live?
Or in my life what comfort, when I am
Dead to my husband?

PISANIO
If you’ll back to the court–

IMOGEN
No court, no father; nor no more ado
With that harsh, noble, simple nothing,
That Cloten, whose love-suit hath been to me
As fearful as a siege.

PISANIO
If not at court,
Then not in Britain must you bide.

IMOGEN
Where then
Hath Britain all the sun that shines? Day, night,
Are they not but in Britain? I’ the world’s volume
Our Britain seems as of it, but not in ‘t;
In a great pool a swan’s nest: prithee, think
There’s livers out of Britain.

PISANIO
I am most glad
You think of other place. The ambassador,
Lucius the Roman, comes to Milford-Haven
To-morrow: now, if you could wear a mind
Dark as your fortune is, and but disguise
That which, to appear itself, must not yet be
But by self-danger, you should tread a course
Pretty and full of view; yea, haply, near
The residence of Posthumus; so nigh at least
That though his actions were not visible, yet
Report should render him hourly to your ear
As truly as he moves.

IMOGEN
O, for such means!
Though peril to my modesty, not death on’t,
I would adventure.

PISANIO
Well, then, here’s the point:
You must forget to be a woman; change
Command into obedience: fear and niceness–
The handmaids of all women, or, more truly,
Woman its pretty self–into a waggish courage:
Ready in gibes, quick-answer’d, saucy and
As quarrelous as the weasel; nay, you must
Forget that rarest treasure of your cheek,
Exposing it–but, O, the harder heart!
Alack, no remedy!–to the greedy touch
Of common-kissing Titan, and forget
Your laboursome and dainty trims, wherein
You made great Juno angry.

IMOGEN
Nay, be brief
I see into thy end, and am almost
A man already.

PISANIO
First, make yourself but like one.
Fore-thinking this, I have already fit–
‘Tis in my cloak-bag–doublet, hat, hose, all
That answer to them: would you in their serving,
And with what imitation you can borrow
From youth of such a season, ‘fore noble Lucius
Present yourself, desire his service, tell him
wherein you’re happy,–which you’ll make him know,
If that his head have ear in music,–doubtless
With joy he will embrace you, for he’s honourable
And doubling that, most holy. Your means abroad,
You have me, rich; and I will never fail
Beginning nor supplyment.

IMOGEN
Thou art all the comfort
The gods will diet me with. Prithee, away:
There’s more to be consider’d; but we’ll even
All that good time will give us: this attempt
I am soldier to, and will abide it with
A prince’s courage. Away, I prithee.

PISANIO
Well, madam, we must take a short farewell,
Lest, being miss’d, I be suspected of
Your carriage from the court. My noble mistress,
Here is a box; I had it from the queen:
What’s in’t is precious; if you are sick at sea,
Or stomach-qualm’d at land, a dram of this
Will drive away distemper. To some shade,
And fit you to your manhood. May the gods
Direct you to the best!

IMOGEN
Amen: I thank thee.

Exeunt, severally

SCENE V. A room in Cymbeline’s palace.

Enter CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN, LUCIUS, Lords, and Attendants
CYMBELINE
Thus far; and so farewell.

CAIUS LUCIUS
Thanks, royal sir.
My emperor hath wrote, I must from hence;
And am right sorry that I must report ye
My master’s enemy.

CYMBELINE
Our subjects, sir,
Will not endure his yoke; and for ourself
To show less sovereignty than they, must needs
Appear unkinglike.

CAIUS LUCIUS
So, sir: I desire of you
A conduct over-land to Milford-Haven.
Madam, all joy befal your grace!

QUEEN
And you!

CYMBELINE
My lords, you are appointed for that office;
The due of honour in no point omit.
So farewell, noble Lucius.

CAIUS LUCIUS
Your hand, my lord.

CLOTEN
Receive it friendly; but from this time forth
I wear it as your enemy.

CAIUS LUCIUS
Sir, the event
Is yet to name the winner: fare you well.

CYMBELINE
Leave not the worthy Lucius, good my lords,
Till he have cross’d the Severn. Happiness!

Exeunt LUCIUS and Lords

QUEEN
He goes hence frowning: but it honours us
That we have given him cause.

CLOTEN
‘Tis all the better;
Your valiant Britons have their wishes in it.

CYMBELINE
Lucius hath wrote already to the emperor
How it goes here. It fits us therefore ripely
Our chariots and our horsemen be in readiness:
The powers that he already hath in Gallia
Will soon be drawn to head, from whence he moves
His war for Britain.

QUEEN
‘Tis not sleepy business;
But must be look’d to speedily and strongly.

CYMBELINE
Our expectation that it would be thus
Hath made us forward. But, my gentle queen,
Where is our daughter? She hath not appear’d
Before the Roman, nor to us hath tender’d
The duty of the day: she looks us like
A thing more made of malice than of duty:
We have noted it. Call her before us; for
We have been too slight in sufferance.

Exit an Attendant

QUEEN
Royal sir,
Since the exile of Posthumus, most retired
Hath her life been; the cure whereof, my lord,
‘Tis time must do. Beseech your majesty,
Forbear sharp speeches to her: she’s a lady
So tender of rebukes that words are strokes
And strokes death to her.

Re-enter Attendant

CYMBELINE
Where is she, sir? How
Can her contempt be answer’d?

Attendant
Please you, sir,
Her chambers are all lock’d; and there’s no answer
That will be given to the loudest noise we make.

QUEEN
My lord, when last I went to visit her,
She pray’d me to excuse her keeping close,
Whereto constrain’d by her infirmity,
She should that duty leave unpaid to you,
Which daily she was bound to proffer: this
She wish’d me to make known; but our great court
Made me to blame in memory.

CYMBELINE
Her doors lock’d?
Not seen of late? Grant, heavens, that which I fear
Prove false!

Exit

QUEEN
Son, I say, follow the king.

CLOTEN
That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant,
have not seen these two days.

QUEEN
Go, look after.

Exit CLOTEN

Pisanio, thou that stand’st so for Posthumus!
He hath a drug of mine; I pray his absence
Proceed by swallowing that, for he believes
It is a thing most precious. But for her,
Where is she gone? Haply, despair hath seized her,
Or, wing’d with fervor of her love, she’s flown
To her desired Posthumus: gone she is
To death or to dishonour; and my end
Can make good use of either: she being down,
I have the placing of the British crown.

Re-enter CLOTEN

How now, my son!

CLOTEN
‘Tis certain she is fled.
Go in and cheer the king: he rages; none
Dare come about him.

QUEEN
[Aside] All the better: may
This night forestall him of the coming day!

Exit

CLOTEN
I love and hate her: for she’s fair and royal,
And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite
Than lady, ladies, woman; from every one
The best she hath, and she, of all compounded,
Outsells them all; I love her therefore: but
Disdaining me and throwing favours on
The low Posthumus slanders so her judgment
That what’s else rare is choked; and in that point
I will conclude to hate her, nay, indeed,
To be revenged upon her. For when fools Shall–

Enter PISANIO

Who is here? What, are you packing, sirrah?
Come hither: ah, you precious pander! Villain,
Where is thy lady? In a word; or else
Thou art straightway with the fiends.

PISANIO
O, good my lord!

CLOTEN
Where is thy lady? Or, by Jupiter,–
I will not ask again. Close villain,
I’ll have this secret from thy heart, or rip
Thy heart to find it. Is she with Posthumus?
From whose so many weights of baseness cannot
A dram of worth be drawn.

PISANIO
Alas, my lord,
How can she be with him? When was she missed?
He is in Rome.

CLOTEN
Where is she, sir? Come nearer;
No further halting: satisfy me home
What is become of her.

PISANIO
O, my all-worthy lord!

CLOTEN
All-worthy villain!
Discover where thy mistress is at once,
At the next word: no more of ‘worthy lord!’
Speak, or thy silence on the instant is
Thy condemnation and thy death.

PISANIO
Then, sir,
This paper is the history of my knowledge
Touching her flight.

Presenting a letter

CLOTEN
Let’s see’t. I will pursue her
Even to Augustus’ throne.

PISANIO
[Aside] Or this, or perish.
She’s far enough; and what he learns by this
May prove his travel, not her danger.

CLOTEN
Hum!

PISANIO
[Aside] I’ll write to my lord she’s dead. O Imogen,
Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again!

CLOTEN
Sirrah, is this letter true?

PISANIO
Sir, as I think.

CLOTEN
It is Posthumus’ hand; I know’t. Sirrah, if thou
wouldst not be a villain, but do me true service,
undergo those employments wherein I should have
cause to use thee with a serious industry, that is,
what villany soe’er I bid thee do, to perform it
directly and truly, I would think thee an honest
man: thou shouldst neither want my means for thy
relief nor my voice for thy preferment.

PISANIO
Well, my good lord.

CLOTEN
Wilt thou serve me? for since patiently and
constantly thou hast stuck to the bare fortune of
that beggar Posthumus, thou canst not, in the
course of gratitude, but be a diligent follower of
mine: wilt thou serve me?

PISANIO
Sir, I will.

CLOTEN
Give me thy hand; here’s my purse. Hast any of thy
late master’s garments in thy possession?

PISANIO
I have, my lord, at my lodging, the same suit he
wore when he took leave of my lady and mistress.

CLOTEN
The first service thou dost me, fetch that suit
hither: let it be thy lint service; go.

PISANIO
I shall, my lord.

Exit

CLOTEN
Meet thee at Milford-Haven!–I forgot to ask him one
thing; I’ll remember’t anon:–even there, thou
villain Posthumus, will I kill thee. I would these
garments were come. She said upon a time–the
bitterness of it I now belch from my heart–that she
held the very garment of Posthumus in more respect
than my noble and natural person together with the
adornment of my qualities. With that suit upon my
back, will I ravish her: first kill him, and in her
eyes; there shall she see my valour, which will then
be a torment to her contempt. He on the ground, my
speech of insultment ended on his dead body, and
when my lust hath dined,–which, as I say, to vex
her I will execute in the clothes that she so
praised,–to the court I’ll knock her back, foot
her home again. She hath despised me rejoicingly,
and I’ll be merry in my revenge.

Re-enter PISANIO, with the clothes

Be those the garments?

PISANIO
Ay, my noble lord.

CLOTEN
How long is’t since she went to Milford-Haven?

PISANIO
She can scarce be there yet.

CLOTEN
Bring this apparel to my chamber; that is the second
thing that I have commanded thee: the third is,
that thou wilt be a voluntary mute to my design. Be
but duteous, and true preferment shall tender itself
to thee. My revenge is now at Milford: would I had
wings to follow it! Come, and be true.

Exit

PISANIO
Thou bid’st me to my loss: for true to thee
Were to prove false, which I will never be,
To him that is most true. To Milford go,
And find not her whom thou pursuest. Flow, flow,
You heavenly blessings, on her! This fool’s speed
Be cross’d with slowness; labour be his meed!

Exit

SCENE VI. Wales. Before the cave of Belarius.

Enter IMOGEN, in boy’s clothes
IMOGEN
I see a man’s life is a tedious one:
I have tired myself, and for two nights together
Have made the ground my bed. I should be sick,
But that my resolution helps me. Milford,
When from the mountain-top Pisanio show’d thee,
Thou wast within a ken: O Jove! I think
Foundations fly the wretched; such, I mean,
Where they should be relieved. Two beggars told me
I could not miss my way: will poor folks lie,
That have afflictions on them, knowing ’tis
A punishment or trial? Yes; no wonder,
When rich ones scarce tell true. To lapse in fulness
Is sorer than to lie for need, and falsehood
Is worse in kings than beggars. My dear lord!
Thou art one o’ the false ones. Now I think on thee,
My hunger’s gone; but even before, I was
At point to sink for food. But what is this?
Here is a path to’t: ’tis some savage hold:
I were best not to call; I dare not call:
yet famine,
Ere clean it o’erthrow nature, makes it valiant,
Plenty and peace breeds cowards: hardness ever
Of hardiness is mother. Ho! who’s here?
If any thing that’s civil, speak; if savage,
Take or lend. Ho! No answer? Then I’ll enter.
Best draw my sword: and if mine enemy
But fear the sword like me, he’ll scarcely look on’t.
Such a foe, good heavens!

Exit, to the cave

Enter BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS

BELARIUS
You, Polydote, have proved best woodman and
Are master of the feast: Cadwal and I
Will play the cook and servant; ’tis our match:
The sweat of industry would dry and die,
But for the end it works to. Come; our stomachs
Will make what’s homely savoury: weariness
Can snore upon the flint, when resty sloth
Finds the down pillow hard. Now peace be here,
Poor house, that keep’st thyself!

GUIDERIUS
I am thoroughly weary.

ARVIRAGUS
I am weak with toil, yet strong in appetite.

GUIDERIUS
There is cold meat i’ the cave; we’ll browse on that,
Whilst what we have kill’d be cook’d.

BELARIUS
[Looking into the cave]
Stay; come not in.
But that it eats our victuals, I should think
Here were a fairy.

GUIDERIUS
What’s the matter, sir?

BELARIUS
By Jupiter, an angel! or, if not,
An earthly paragon! Behold divineness
No elder than a boy!

Re-enter IMOGEN

IMOGEN
Good masters, harm me not:
Before I enter’d here, I call’d; and thought
To have begg’d or bought what I have took:
good troth,
I have stol’n nought, nor would not, though I had found
Gold strew’d i’ the floor. Here’s money for my meat:
I would have left it on the board so soon
As I had made my meal, and parted
With prayers for the provider.

GUIDERIUS
Money, youth?

ARVIRAGUS
All gold and silver rather turn to dirt!
As ’tis no better reckon’d, but of those
Who worship dirty gods.

IMOGEN
I see you’re angry:
Know, if you kill me for my fault, I should
Have died had I not made it.

BELARIUS
Whither bound?

IMOGEN
To Milford-Haven.

BELARIUS
What’s your name?

IMOGEN
Fidele, sir. I have a kinsman who
Is bound for Italy; he embark’d at Milford;
To whom being going, almost spent with hunger,
I am fall’n in this offence.

BELARIUS
Prithee, fair youth,
Think us no churls, nor measure our good minds
By this rude place we live in. Well encounter’d!
‘Tis almost night: you shall have better cheer
Ere you depart: and thanks to stay and eat it.
Boys, bid him welcome.

GUIDERIUS
Were you a woman, youth,
I should woo hard but be your groom. In honesty,
I bid for you as I’d buy.

ARVIRAGUS
I’ll make’t my comfort
He is a man; I’ll love him as my brother:
And such a welcome as I’d give to him
After long absence, such is yours: most welcome!
Be sprightly, for you fall ‘mongst friends.

IMOGEN
‘Mongst friends,
If brothers.

Aside

Would it had been so, that they
Had been my father’s sons! then had my prize
Been less, and so more equal ballasting
To thee, Posthumus.

BELARIUS
He wrings at some distress.

GUIDERIUS
Would I could free’t!

ARVIRAGUS
Or I, whate’er it be,
What pain it cost, what danger. God’s!

BELARIUS
Hark, boys.

Whispering

IMOGEN
Great men,
That had a court no bigger than this cave,
That did attend themselves and had the virtue
Which their own conscience seal’d them–laying by
That nothing-gift of differing multitudes–
Could not out-peer these twain. Pardon me, gods!
I’d change my sex to be companion with them,
Since Leonatus’s false.

BELARIUS
It shall be so.
Boys, we’ll go dress our hunt. Fair youth, come in:
Discourse is heavy, fasting; when we have supp’d,
We’ll mannerly demand thee of thy story,
So far as thou wilt speak it.

GUIDERIUS
Pray, draw near.

ARVIRAGUS
The night to the owl and morn to the lark
less welcome.

IMOGEN
Thanks, sir.

ARVIRAGUS
I pray, draw near.

Exeunt

SCENE VII. Rome. A public place.

Enter two Senators and Tribunes
First Senator
This is the tenor of the emperor’s writ:
That since the common men are now in action
‘Gainst the Pannonians and Dalmatians,
And that the legions now in Gallia are
Full weak to undertake our wars against
The fall’n-off Britons, that we do incite
The gentry to this business. He creates
Lucius preconsul: and to you the tribunes,
For this immediate levy, he commends
His absolute commission. Long live Caesar!

First Tribune
Is Lucius general of the forces?

Second Senator
Ay.

First Tribune
Remaining now in Gallia?

First Senator
With those legions
Which I have spoke of, whereunto your levy
Must be supplyant: the words of your commission
Will tie you to the numbers and the time
Of their dispatch.

First Tribune
We will discharge our duty.

Exeunt