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.
sons to Cymbeline, disguised under the names
of Polydote and Cadwal, supposed sons to
PHILARIO friend to Posthumus, Italian.
IACHIMO friend to Philario, Italian.
CAIUS LUCIUS general of the Roman forces.
PISANIO servant to Posthumus.
CORNELIUS a physician.
A Roman Captain (Captain:)
Two British Captains (First Captain:) (Second Captain:)
(Frenchman) A Frenchman, friend to Philario.
Two Lords of Cymbeline's court. (First Lord:) (Second Lord:)
Two Gentlemen of the same. (First Gentleman:) (Second Gentleman:)
Two Gaolers. (First Gaoler:) (Second Gaoler:)
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. (Lord:)
(First Lady:)
(First Senator:)
(Second Senator:)
(First Tribune:)
(Sicilius Leonatus:)
(First Brother:)
(Second Brother:)

SCENE Britain; Rome.





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


[Enter two Gentlemen]


First Gentleman You do not meet a man but frowns: our bloods

No more obey the heavens than our courtiers

Still seem as does the king.


Second Gentleman But what's the matter?


First Gentleman His daughter, and the heir of's kingdom, whom

He purposed to his wife's sole son--a widow

That late he married--hath referr'd herself

Unto a poor but worthy gentleman: she's wedded;

Her husband banish'd; she imprison'd: all

Is outward sorrow; though I think the king

Be touch'd at very heart.


Second Gentleman None but the king?


First Gentleman He that hath lost her too; so is the queen,

That most desired the match; but not a courtier,

Although they wear their faces to the bent

Of the king's look's, hath a heart that is not

Glad at the thing they scowl at.


Second Gentleman And why so?


First Gentleman He that hath miss'd the princess is a thing

Too bad for bad report: and he that hath her--

I mean, that married her, alack, good man!

And therefore banish'd--is a creature such

As, to seek through the regions of the earth

For one his like, there would be something failing

In him that should compare. I do not think

So fair an outward and such stuff within

Endows a man but he.


Second Gentleman You speak him far.


First Gentleman I do extend him, sir, within himself,

Crush him together rather than unfold

His measure duly.


Second Gentleman What's his name and birth?


First Gentleman I cannot delve him to the root: his father

Was call'd Sicilius, who did join his honour

Against the Romans with Cassibelan,

But had his titles by Tenantius whom

He served with glory and admired 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, deceased

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 minister'd,

And in's spring became a harvest, lived in court--

Which rare it is to do--most praised, most loved,

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.


Second Gentleman I honour him

Even out of your report. But, pray you, tell me,

Is she sole child to the king?


First Gentleman His only child.

He had two sons: if this be worth your hearing,

Mark it: the eldest of them at three years old,

I' the swathing-clothes the other, from their nursery

Were stol'n, and to this hour no guess in knowledge

Which way they went.


Second Gentleman How long is this ago?


First Gentleman Some twenty years.


Second Gentleman That a king's children should be so convey'd,

So slackly guarded, and the search so slow,

That could not trace them!


First Gentleman Howsoe'er 'tis strange,

Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at,

Yet is it true, sir.


Second Gentleman I do well believe you.


First Gentleman We must forbear: here comes the gentleman,

The queen, and princess.





QUEEN No, be assured you shall not find me, daughter,

After the slander of most stepmothers,

Evil-eyed 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.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Please your highness,

I will from hence to-day.


QUEEN You know the peril.

I'll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying

The pangs of barr'd affections, though the king

Hath charged you should not speak together.





Dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant

Can tickle where she wounds! My dearest husband,

I something fear my father's wrath; but nothing--

Always reserved my holy duty--what

His rage can do on me: you must be gone;

And I shall here abide the hourly shot

Of angry eyes, not comforted to live,

But that there is this jewel in the world

That I may see again.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS My queen! my mistress!

O lady, weep no more, lest I give cause

To be suspected of more tenderness

Than doth become a man. I will remain

The loyal'st husband that did e'er plight troth:

My residence in Rome at one Philario's,

Who to my father was a friend, to me

Known but by letter: thither write, my queen,

And with mine eyes I'll drink the words you send,

Though ink be made of gall.


[Re-enter QUEEN]


QUEEN Be brief, I pray you:

If the king come, I shall incur I know not

How much of his displeasure.


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.




POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Should we be taking leave

As long a term as yet we have to live,

The loathness to depart would grow. Adieu!


IMOGEN Nay, stay a little:

Were you but riding forth to air yourself,

Such parting were too petty. Look here, love;

This diamond was my mother's: take it, heart;

But keep it till you woo another wife,

When Imogen is dead.



POSTHUMUS LEONATUS How, how! another?

You gentle gods, give me but this I have,

And sear up my embracements from a next

With bonds of death!

[Putting on the ring]

Remain, remain thou here

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]


IMOGEN O the gods!

When shall we see again?


[Enter CYMBELINE and Lords]




CYMBELINE Thou basest thing, avoid! hence, from my sight!

If after this command thou fraught the court

With thy unworthiness, thou diest: away!

Thou'rt poison to my blood.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS The gods protect you!

And bless the good remainders of the court! I am gone.




IMOGEN There cannot be a pinch in death

More sharp than this is.


CYMBELINE O disloyal thing,

That shouldst repair my youth, thou heap'st

A year's age on me.


IMOGEN I beseech you, sir,

Harm not yourself with your vexation

I am senseless of your wrath; a touch more rare

Subdues all pangs, all fears.


CYMBELINE Past grace? obedience?


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


CYMBELINE That mightst have had the sole son of my queen!


IMOGEN O blest, that I might not! I chose an eagle,

And did avoid a puttock.


CYMBELINE Thou took'st a beggar; wouldst have made my throne

A seat for baseness.


IMOGEN No; I rather added

A lustre to it.


CYMBELINE O thou vile one!



It is your fault that I have loved Posthumus:

You bred him as my playfellow, and he is

A man worth any woman, overbuys me

Almost the sum he pays.


CYMBELINE What, art thou mad?


IMOGEN Almost, sir: heaven restore me! Would I were

A neat-herd's daughter, and my Leonatus

Our neighbour shepherd's son!


CYMBELINE Thou foolish thing!

[Re-enter QUEEN]

They were again together: you have done

Not after our command. Away with her,

And pen her up.


QUEEN Beseech your patience. Peace,

Dear lady daughter, peace! Sweet sovereign,

Leave us to ourselves; and make yourself some comfort

Out of your best advice.


CYMBELINE Nay, let her languish

A drop of blood a day; and, being aged,

Die of this folly!


[Exeunt CYMBELINE and Lords]


QUEEN Fie! you must give way.


Here is your servant. How now, sir! What news?


PISANIO My lord your son drew on my master.



No harm, I trust, is done?


PISANIO There might have been,

But that my master rather play'd than fought

And had no help of anger: they were parted

By gentlemen at hand.


QUEEN I am very glad on't.


IMOGEN Your son's my father's friend; he takes his part.

To draw upon an exile! O brave sir!

I would they were in Afric both together;

Myself by with a needle, that I might prick

The goer-back. Why came you from your master?


PISANIO On his command: he would not suffer me

To bring him to the haven; left these notes

Of what commands I should be subject to,

When 't pleased you to employ me.


QUEEN This hath been

Your faithful servant: I dare lay mine honour

He will remain so.


PISANIO I humbly thank your highness.


QUEEN Pray, walk awhile.


IMOGEN About some half-hour hence,

I pray you, speak with me: you shall at least

Go see my lord aboard: for this time leave me.





SCENE II The same. A public place.


[Enter CLOTEN and two Lords]


First Lord Sir, I would advise you to shift a shirt; the

violence of action hath made you reek as a

sacrifice: where air comes out, air comes in:

there's none abroad so wholesome as that you vent.


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

Second Lord [Aside] No, 'faith; not so much as his patience.


First Lord Hurt him! his body's a passable carcass, if he be

not hurt: it is a thoroughfare for steel, if it be not hurt.


Second Lord [Aside] His steel was in debt; it went o' the

backside the town.


CLOTEN The villain would not stand me.


Second Lord [Aside] No; but he fled forward still, toward your face.


First Lord Stand you! You have land enough of your own: but

he added to your having; gave you some ground.


Second Lord [Aside] As many inches as you have oceans. Puppies!


CLOTEN I would they had not come between us.


Second Lord [Aside] So would I, till you had measured how long

a fool you were upon the ground.


CLOTEN And that she should love this fellow and refuse me!


Second Lord [Aside] If it be a sin to make a true election, she

is damned.


First Lord Sir, as I told you always, her beauty and her brain

go not together: she's a good sign, but I have seen

small reflection of her wit.


Second Lord [Aside] She shines not upon fools, lest the

reflection should hurt her.


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

hurt done!


Second Lord [Aside] I wish not so; unless it had been the fall

of an ass, which is no great hurt.


CLOTEN You'll go with us?


First Lord I'll attend your lordship.


CLOTEN Nay, come, let's go together.


Second Lord Well, my lord.






 SCENE III A room in Cymbeline's palace.




IMOGEN I would thou grew'st unto the shores o' the haven,

And question'dst every sail: if he should write

And not have it, 'twere a paper lost,

As offer'd mercy is. What was the last

That he spake to thee?


PISANIO It was his queen, his queen!


IMOGEN Then waved his handkerchief?


PISANIO And kiss'd it, madam.


IMOGEN Senseless Linen! happier therein than I!

And that was all?


PISANIO No, madam; for so long

As he could make me with 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.


IMOGEN Thou shouldst have made him

As little as a crow, or less, ere left

To after-eye him.


PISANIO Madam, so I did.


IMOGEN I would have broke mine 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?


PISANIO Be assured, madam,

With his next vantage.


IMOGEN I did not take my leave of him, but had

Most pretty things to say: ere I could tell him

How I would think on him at certain hours

Such thoughts and such, or I could make him swear

The shes of Italy should not betray

Mine interest and his honour, or have charged 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]


Lady The queen, madam,

Desires your highness' company.


IMOGEN Those things I bid you do, get them dispatch'd.

I will attend the queen.


PISANIO Madam, I shall.






SCENE IV Rome. Philario's house.


[Enter PHILARIO, IACHIMO, a Frenchman, a

Dutchman, and a Spaniard]


IACHIMO Believe it, sir, I have seen him in Britain: he was

then of a crescent note, expected to prove so worthy

as since he hath been allowed the name of; but I

could then have looked on him without the help of

admiration, though the catalogue of his endowments

had been tabled by his side and I to peruse him by items.


PHILARIO You speak of him when he was less furnished than now

he is with that which makes him both without and within.


Frenchman I have seen him in France: we had very many there

could behold the sun with as firm eyes as he.


IACHIMO This matter of marrying his king's daughter, wherein

he must be weighed rather by her value than his own,

words him, I doubt not, a great deal from the matter.


Frenchman And then his banishment.


IACHIMO Ay, and the approbation of those that weep this

lamentable divorce under her colours are wonderfully

to extend him; be it but to fortify her judgment,

which else an easy battery might lay flat, for

taking a beggar without less quality. But how comes

it he is to sojourn with you? How creeps



PHILARIO His father and I were soldiers together; to whom I

have been often bound for no less than my life.

Here comes the Briton: let him be so entertained

amongst you as suits, with gentlemen of your

knowing, to a stranger of his quality.




I beseech you all, be better known to this

gentleman; whom I commend to you as a noble friend

of mine: how worthy he is I will leave to appear

hereafter, rather than story him in his own hearing.

Frenchman Sir, we have known together in Orleans.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Since when I have been debtor to you for courtesies,

which I will be ever to pay and yet pay still.


Frenchman Sir, you o'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.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS By your pardon, sir, I was then a young traveller;

rather shunned to go even with what I heard than in

my every action to be guided by others' experiences:

but upon my mended judgment--if I offend not to say

it is mended--my quarrel was not altogether slight.


Frenchman 'Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrement of swords,

and by such two that would by all likelihood have

confounded one the other, or have fallen both.


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


Frenchman Safely, I think: 'twas a contention in public,

which may, without contradiction, suffer the report.

It was much like an argument that fell out last

night, where each of us fell in praise of our

country mistresses; this gentleman at that time

vouching--and upon warrant of bloody

affirmation--his to be more fair, virtuous, wise,

chaste, constant-qualified and less attemptable

than any the rarest of our ladies in France.


IACHIMO That lady is not now living, or this gentleman's

opinion by this worn out.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS She holds her virtue still and I my mind.


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


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Being so far provoked as I was in France, I would

abate her nothing, though I profess myself her

adorer, not her friend.


IACHIMO As fair and as good--a kind of hand-in-hand

comparison--had been something too fair and too good

for any lady in Britain. If she went before others

I have seen, as that diamond of yours outlustres

many I have beheld. I could not but believe she

excelled many: but I have not seen the most

precious diamond that is, nor you the lady.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS I praised her as I rated her: so do I my stone.


IACHIMO What do you esteem it at?


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS More than the world enjoys.


IACHIMO Either your unparagoned mistress is dead, or she's

outprized by a trifle.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS You are mistaken: the one may be sold, or given, if

there were wealth enough for the purchase, or merit

for the gift: the other is not a thing for sale,

and only the gift of the gods.


IACHIMO Which the gods have given you?


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Which, by their graces, I will keep.


IACHIMO You may wear her in title yours: but, you know,

strange fowl light upon neighbouring ponds. Your

ring may be stolen too: so your brace of unprizable

estimations; the one is but frail and the other

casual; a cunning thief, or a that way accomplished

courtier, would hazard the winning both of first and last.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Your Italy contains none so accomplished a courtier

to convince the honour of my mistress, if, in the

holding or loss of that, you term her frail. I do

nothing doubt you have store of thieves;

notwithstanding, I fear not my ring.


PHILARIO Let us leave here, gentlemen.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Sir, with all my heart. This worthy signior, I

thank him, makes no stranger of me; we are familiar at first.


IACHIMO With five times so much conversation, I should get

ground of your fair mistress, make her go back, even

to the yielding, had I admittance and opportunity to friend.




IACHIMO I dare thereupon pawn the moiety of my estate to

your ring; which, in my opinion, o'ervalues it

something: but I make my wager rather against your

confidence than her reputation: and, to bar your

offence herein too, I durst attempt it against any

lady in the world.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS You are a great deal abused in too bold a

persuasion; and I doubt not you sustain what you're

worthy of by your attempt.


IACHIMO What's that?


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS A repulse: though your attempt, as you call it,

deserve more; a punishment too.


PHILARIO Gentlemen, enough of this: it came in too suddenly;

let it die as it was born, and, I pray you, be

better acquainted.


IACHIMO Would I had put my estate and my neighbour's on the

approbation of what I have spoke!


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS What lady would you choose to assail?


IACHIMO Yours; whom in constancy you think stands so safe.

I will lay you ten thousand ducats to your ring,

that, commend me to the court where your lady is,

with no more advantage than the opportunity of a

second conference, and I will bring from thence

that honour of hers which you imagine so reserved.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS I will wage against your gold, gold to it: my ring

I hold dear as my finger; 'tis part of it.


IACHIMO 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.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS This is but a custom in your tongue; you bear a

graver purpose, I hope.


IACHIMO I am the master of my speeches, and would undergo

what's spoken, I swear.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Will you? I shall but lend my diamond till your

return: let there be covenants drawn between's: my

mistress exceeds in goodness the hugeness of your

unworthy thinking: I dare you to this match: here's my ring.


PHILARIO I will have it no lay.


IACHIMO By the gods, it is one. If I bring you no

sufficient testimony that I have enjoyed the dearest

bodily part of your mistress, my ten thousand ducats

are yours; so is your diamond too: if I come off,

and leave her in such honour as you have trust in,

she your jewel, this your jewel, and my gold are

yours: provided I have your commendation for my more

free entertainment.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS 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 prevailed, I am no further

your enemy; she is not worth our debate: if she

remain unseduced, 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.


IACHIMO Your hand; a covenant: we will have these things set

down by lawful counsel, and straight away for

Britain, lest the bargain should catch cold and

starve: I will fetch my gold and have our two

wagers recorded.






Frenchman Will this hold, think you?


PHILARIO Signior Iachimo will not from it.

Pray, let us follow 'em.






SCENE V Britain. A room in Cymbeline's palace.


[Enter QUEEN, Ladies, and CORNELIUS]


QUEEN Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those flowers;

Make haste: who has the note of them?


First Lady I, madam.


QUEEN Dispatch.

[Exeunt Ladies]

Now, master doctor, have you brought those drugs?


CORNELIUS Pleaseth your highness, ay: here they are, madam:


[Presenting a small box]


But I beseech your grace, without offence,--

My conscience bids me ask--wherefore you have

Commanded of me those most poisonous compounds,

Which are the movers of a languishing death;

But though slow, deadly?


QUEEN I wonder, doctor,

Thou ask'st me such a question. Have I not been

Thy pupil long? Hast thou not learn'd me how

To make perfumes? distil? preserve? yea, so

That our great king himself doth woo me oft

For my confections? Having thus far proceeded,--

Unless thou think'st me devilish--is't not meet

That I did amplify my judgment in

Other conclusions? I will try the forces

Of these thy compounds on such creatures as

We count not worth the hanging, but none human,

To try the vigour of them and apply

Allayments to their act, and by them gather

Their several virtues and effects.


CORNELIUS Your highness

Shall from this practise but make hard your heart:

Besides, the seeing these effects will be

Both noisome and infectious.


QUEEN O, content thee.




Here comes a flattering rascal; upon him

Will I first work: he's for his master,

An enemy to my son. How now, Pisanio!

Doctor, your service for this time is ended;

Take your own way.


CORNELIUS [Aside] I do suspect you, madam;

But you shall do no harm.


QUEEN [To PISANIO] Hark thee, a word.


CORNELIUS [Aside] I do not like her. She doth think she has

Strange lingering poisons: I do know her spirit,

And will not trust one of her malice with

A drug of such damn'd nature. Those she has

Will stupefy and dull the sense awhile;

Which first, perchance, she'll prove on

cats and dogs,

Then afterward up higher: but there is

No danger in what show of death it makes,

More than the locking-up the spirits a time,

To be more fresh, reviving. She is fool'd

With a most false effect; and I the truer,

So to be false with her.


QUEEN No further service, doctor,

Until I send for thee.


CORNELIUS I humbly take my leave.




QUEEN Weeps she still, say'st thou? Dost thou think in time

She will not quench and let instructions enter

Where folly now possesses? Do thou work:

When thou shalt bring me word she loves my son,

I'll tell thee on the instant thou art then

As great as is thy master, greater, for

His fortunes all lie speechless and his name

Is at last gasp: return he cannot, nor

Continue where he is: to shift his being

Is to exchange one misery with another,

And every day that comes comes to decay

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 takest 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 prethee, 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 shaked; 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 assured

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]


PISANIO And shall do:

But when to my good lord I prove untrue,

I'll choke myself: there's all I'll do for you.





SCENE VI The same. Another room in the palace.


[Enter IMOGEN]


IMOGEN A father cruel, and a step-dame false;

A foolish suitor to a wedded lady,

That hath her husband banish'd;--O, that husband!

My supreme crown of grief! and those repeated

Vexations of it! Had I been thief-stol'n,

As my two brothers, happy! but most miserable

Is the desire that's glorious: blest be those,

How mean soe'er, that have their honest wills,

Which seasons comfort. Who may this be? Fie!




PISANIO Madam, a noble gentleman of Rome,

Comes from my lord with letters.


IACHIMO Change you, madam?

The worthy Leonatus is in safety

And greets your highness dearly.


[Presents a letter]


IMOGEN Thanks, good sir:

You're kindly welcome.


IACHIMO [Aside] All of her that is out of door most rich!

If she be furnish'd with a mind so rare,

She is alone 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.


IMOGEN [Reads] 'He is one of the noblest note, to whose

kindnesses I am most infinitely tied. Reflect upon

him accordingly, as you value your trust--


LEONATUS. ' So far I read aloud:

But even the very middle of my heart

Is warm'd by the rest, and takes it thankfully.

You are as welcome, worthy sir, as I

Have words to bid you, and shall find it so

In all that I can do.


IACHIMO Thanks, fairest lady.

What, are men mad? Hath nature given them eyes

To see this vaulted arch, and the rich crop

Of sea and land, which can distinguish 'twixt

The fiery orbs above and the twinn'd stones

Upon the number'd beach? and can we not

Partition make with spectacles so precious

'Twixt fair and foul?


IMOGEN What makes your admiration?


IACHIMO It cannot be i' the eye, for apes and monkeys

'Twixt two such shes would chatter this way and

Contemn with mows the other; nor i' the judgment,

For idiots in this case of favour would

Be wisely definite; nor i' the appetite;

Sluttery to such neat excellence opposed

Should make desire vomit emptiness,

Not so allured to feed.


IMOGEN What is the matter, trow?


IACHIMO The cloyed will,

That satiate yet unsatisfied desire, that tub

Both fill'd and running, ravening first the lamb

Longs after for the garbage.


IMOGEN What, dear sir,

Thus raps you? Are you well?


IACHIMO Thanks, madam; well.



Beseech you, sir, desire

My man's abode where I did leave him: he

Is strange and peevish.


PISANIO I was going, sir,

To give him welcome.




IMOGEN Continues well my lord? His health, beseech you?


IACHIMO Well, madam.


IMOGEN Is he disposed to mirth? I hope he is.


IACHIMO Exceeding pleasant; none a stranger there

So merry and so gamesome: he is call'd

The Briton reveller.


IMOGEN When he was here,

He did incline to sadness, and oft-times

Not knowing why.


IACHIMO I never saw him sad.

There is a Frenchman his companion, one

An eminent monsieur, that, it seems, much loves

A Gallian girl at home; he furnaces

The thick sighs from him, whiles the jolly Briton--

Your lord, I mean--laughs from's free lungs, cries 'O,

Can my sides hold, to think that man, who knows

By history, report, or his own proof,

What woman is, yea, what she cannot choose

But must be, will his free hours languish for

Assured bondage?'


IMOGEN Will my lord say so?


IACHIMO Ay, madam, with his eyes in flood with laughter:

It is a recreation to be by

And hear him mock the Frenchman. But, heavens know,

Some men are much to blame.


IMOGEN Not he, I hope.


IACHIMO Not he: but yet heaven's bounty towards him might

Be 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.


IMOGEN What do you pity, sir?


IACHIMO Two creatures heartily.


IMOGEN Am I one, sir?

You look on me: what wreck discern you in me

Deserves your pity?


IACHIMO Lamentable! What,

To hide me from the radiant sun and solace

I' the dungeon by a snuff?


IMOGEN I pray you, sir,

Deliver with more openness your answers

To my demands. Why do you pity me?


IACHIMO That others do--

I was about to say--enjoy your--But

It is an office of the gods to venge it,

Not mine to speak on 't.


IMOGEN You do seem to know

Something of me, or what concerns me: pray you,--

Since doubling things go ill often hurts more

Than to be sure they do; for certainties

Either are past remedies, or, timely knowing,

The remedy then born--discover to me

What both you spur and stop.


IACHIMO Had I this cheek

To bathe my lips upon; this hand, whose touch,

Whose every touch, would force the feeler's soul

To 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 by-peeping in an eye

Base and unlustrous as the smoky light

That's fed with stinking tallow; it were fit

That all the plagues of hell should at one time

Encounter such revolt.


IMOGEN My lord, I fear,

Has forgot Britain.


IACHIMO And himself. Not I,

Inclined to this intelligence, pronounce

The beggary of his change; but 'tis your graces

That from pay mutest conscience to my tongue

Charms this report out.


IMOGEN Let me hear no more.


IACHIMO O dearest soul! your cause doth strike my heart

With pity, that doth make me sick. A lady

So fair, and fasten'd to an empery,

Would make the great'st king double,--to be partner'd

With tomboys hired with that self-exhibition

Which your own coffers yield! with diseased ventures

That play with all infirmities for gold

Which rottenness can lend nature! such boil'd stuff

As well might poison poison! Be revenged;

Or she that bore you was no queen, and you

Recoil from your great stock.


IMOGEN Revenged!

How should I be revenged? 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 revenged?


IACHIMO Should he make me

Live, like Diana's priest, betwixt cold sheets,

Whiles he is vaulting variable ramps,

In your despite, upon your purse? Revenge it.

I dedicate myself to your sweet pleasure,

More noble than that runagate to your bed,

And will continue fast to your affection,

Still close as sure.


IMOGEN What, ho, Pisanio!


IACHIMO Let me my service tender on your lips.


IMOGEN Away! I do condemn mine ears that have

So long attended thee. If thou wert honourable,

Thou wouldst have told this tale for virtue, not

For such an end thou seek'st,--as base as strange.

Thou wrong'st a gentleman, who is as far

From thy report as thou from honour, and

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!


IACHIMO O happy Leonatus! I may say

The credit that thy lady hath of thee

Deserves thy trust, and thy most perfect goodness

Her assured credit. Blessed live you long!

A lady to the worthiest sir that ever

Country call'd his! and you his mistress, only

For the most worthiest fit! Give me your pardon.

I have spoke this, to know if your affiance

Were deeply rooted; and shall make your lord,

That which he is, new o'er: and he is one

The truest manner'd; such a holy witch

That he enchants societies into him;

Half all men's hearts are his.


IMOGEN You make amends.


IACHIMO He sits 'mongst men like a descended god:

He hath a kind of honour sets him off,

More than a mortal seeming. Be not angry,

Most mighty princess, that I have adventured

To try your taking a false report; which hath

Honour'd with confirmation your great judgment

In the election of a sir so rare,

Which you know cannot err: the love I bear him

Made me to fan you thus, but the gods made you,

Unlike all others, chaffless. Pray, your pardon.


IMOGEN All's well, sir: take my power i' the court

for yours.


IACHIMO My humble thanks. I had almost forgot

To entreat your grace but in a small request,

And yet of moment to, for it concerns

Your lord; myself and other noble friends,

Are partners in the business.


IMOGEN Pray, what is't?


IACHIMO Some dozen Romans of us and your lord--

The best feather of our wing--have mingled sums

To buy a present for the emperor

Which I, the factor for the rest, have done

In France: 'tis plate of rare device, and jewels

Of rich and exquisite form; their values great;

And I am something curious, being strange,

To have them in safe stowage: may it please you

To take them in protection?


IMOGEN Willingly;

And pawn mine honour for their safety: since

My lord hath interest in them, I will keep them

In my bedchamber.


IACHIMO They are in a trunk,

Attended by my men: I will make bold

To send them to you, only for this night;

I must aboard to-morrow.


IMOGEN O, no, no.


IACHIMO Yes, I beseech; or I shall short my word

By lengthening my return. From Gallia

I cross'd the seas on purpose and on promise

To see your grace.


IMOGEN I thank you for your pains:

But not away to-morrow!


IACHIMO O, I must, madam:

Therefore I shall beseech you, if you please

To greet your lord with writing, do't to-night:

I have outstood my time; which is material

To the tender of our present.


IMOGEN I will write.

Send your trunk to me; it shall safe be kept,

And truly yielded you. You're very welcome.






SCENE I Britain. Before Cymbeline's palace.


[Enter CLOTEN and two Lords]


CLOTEN Was there ever man had such luck! when I kissed the

jack, upon an up-cast to be hit away! I had a

hundred pound on't: and then a whoreson jackanapes

must take me up for swearing; as if I borrowed mine

oaths of him and might not spend them at my pleasure.


First Lord What got he by that? You have broke his pate with

your bowl.


Second Lord [Aside] If his wit had been like him that broke it,

it would have run all out.


CLOTEN When a gentleman is disposed to swear, it is not for

any standers-by to curtail his oaths, ha?

Second Lord No my lord;


nor crop the ears of them.


CLOTEN Whoreson dog! I give him satisfaction?

Would he had been one of my rank!


Second Lord [Aside] To have smelt like a fool.


CLOTEN I am not vexed more at any thing 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.

Second Lord [Aside] You are cock and capon too; and you crow,

cock, with your comb on.


CLOTEN Sayest thou?


Second Lord It is not fit your lordship should undertake every

companion that you give offence to.


CLOTEN No, I know that: but it is fit I should commit

offence to my inferiors.


Second Lord Ay, it is fit for your lordship only.


CLOTEN Why, so I say.


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


CLOTEN A stranger, and I not know on't!


Second Lord [Aside] He's a strange fellow himself, and knows it



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

Leonatus' friends.


CLOTEN Leonatus! a banished rascal; and he's another,

whatsoever he be. Who told you of this stranger?


First Lord One of your lordship's pages.


CLOTEN Is it fit I went to look upon him? is there no

derogation in't?


Second Lord You cannot derogate, my lord.


CLOTEN Not easily, I think.


Second Lord [Aside] You are a fool granted; therefore your

issues, being foolish, do not derogate.


CLOTEN Come, I'll go see this Italian: what I have lost

to-day at bowls I'll win to-night of him. Come, go.


Second Lord I'll attend your lordship.


[Exeunt CLOTEN and First Lord]

That such a crafty devil as is his mother

Should yield the world this ass! a woman that

Bears all down with her brain; and this her son

Cannot take two from twenty, for his heart,

And leave eighteen. Alas, poor princess,

Thou divine Imogen, what thou endurest,

Betwixt a father by thy step-dame govern'd,

A mother hourly coining plots, a wooer

More hateful than the foul expulsion is

Of thy dear husband, than that horrid act

Of the divorce he'ld make! The heavens hold firm

The walls of thy dear honour, keep unshaked

That temple, thy fair mind, that thou mayst stand,

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





SCENE II Imogen's bedchamber in Cymbeline's palace: 

a trunk in one corner of it.


[IMOGEN in bed, reading; a Lady attending]

IMOGEN Who's there? my woman Helen?


Lady Please you, madam


IMOGEN What hour is it?


Lady Almost midnight, madam.


IMOGEN I have read three hours then: mine eyes are weak:

Fold down the leaf where I have left: to bed:

Take not away the taper, leave it burning;

And if thou canst awake by four o' the clock,

I prithee, call me. Sleep hath seized me wholly


[Exit Lady]


To your protection I commend me, gods.

From fairies and the tempters of the night

Guard me, beseech ye.


[Sleeps. IACHIMO comes from the trunk]


IACHIMO The crickets sing, and man's o'er-labour'd sense

Repairs itself by rest. Our Tarquin thus

Did softly press the rushes, ere he waken'd

The chastity he wounded. Cytherea,

How bravely thou becomest 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 laced

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. The scene closes]




Scene III An ante-chamber adjoining Imogen's apartments.


[Enter CLOTEN and Lords]


First Lord Your lordship is the most patient man in loss, the

most coldest that ever turned up ace.


CLOTEN It would make any man cold to lose.


First Lord But not every man patient after the noble temper of

your lordship. You are most hot and furious when you win.


CLOTEN Winning will put any man into courage. If I could

get this foolish Imogen, I should have gold enough.

It's almost morning, is't not?


First Lord Day, my lord.


CLOTEN I would this music would come: I am advised to give

her music 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 chaliced 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.


CLOTEN 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]


Second Lord Here comes the king.


CLOTEN I am glad I was up so late; for that's the reason I

was up so early: he cannot choose but take this

service I have done fatherly.



Good morrow to your majesty and to my gracious mother.


CYMBELINE  Attend you here the door of our stern daughter?

Will she not forth?


CLOTEN I have assailed her with music, but she vouchsafes no notice.


CYMBELINE The exile of her minion is too new;

She hath not yet forgot him: some more time

Must wear the print of his remembrance out,

And then she's yours.


QUEEN You are most bound to 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 inspired to do those duties which

You tender to her; that you in all obey her,

Save when command to your dismission tends,

And therein you are senseless.


CLOTEN Senseless! not so.


[Enter a Messenger]


Messenger So like you, sir, ambassadors from Rome;

The one is Caius Lucius.


CYMBELINE A worthy fellow,

Albeit he comes on angry purpose now;

But that's no fault of his: we must receive him

According to the honour of his sender;

And towards himself, his goodness forespent on us,

We must extend our notice. Our dear son,

When you have given good morning to your mistress,

Attend the queen and us; we shall have need

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


[Exeunt all but CLOTEN]


CLOTEN If she be up, I'll speak with her; if not,

Let her lie still and dream.


By your leave, ho!

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]


Lady Who's there that knocks?


CLOTEN A gentleman.


Lady No more?


CLOTEN Yes, and a gentlewoman's son.


Lady That's more

Than some, whose tailors are as dear as yours,

Can justly boast of. What's your lordship's pleasure?


CLOTEN Your lady's person: is she ready?


Lady Ay,

To keep her chamber.


CLOTEN There is gold for you;

Sell me your good report.


Lady How! my good name? or to report of you

What I shall think is good?--The princess!


[Enter IMOGEN]


CLOTEN Good morrow, fairest: sister, your sweet hand.


[Exit Lady]


IMOGEN Good morrow, sir. You lay out too much pains

For purchasing but trouble; the thanks I give

Is telling you that I am poor of thanks

And scarce can spare them.


CLOTEN Still, I swear I love you.


IMOGEN If you but said so, 'twere as deep with me:

If you swear still, your recompense is still

That I regard it not.


CLOTEN This is no answer.


IMOGEN But that you shall not say I yield being silent,

I would not speak. I pray you, spare me: 'faith,

I shall unfold equal discourtesy

To your best kindness: one of your great knowing

Should learn, being taught, forbearance.


CLOTEN To leave you in your madness, 'twere my sin:

I will not.


IMOGEN Fools are not mad folks.


CLOTEN Do you call me fool?


IMOGEN As I am mad, I do:

If you'll be patient, I'll no more be mad;

That cures us both. I am much sorry, sir,

You put me to forget a lady's manners,

By being so verbal: and learn now, for all,

That I, which know my heart, do here pronounce,

By 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.


CLOTEN You sin against

Obedience, which you owe your father. For

The contract you pretend with that base wretch,

One bred of alms and foster'd with cold dishes,

With scraps o' the court, it is no contract, none:

And though it be allow'd 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-figured knot;

Yet you are curb'd from that enlargement by

The consequence o' the crown, and must not soil

The precious note of it with a base slave.

A hilding for a livery, a squire's cloth,

A pantler, not so eminent.


IMOGEN Profane fellow

Wert thou the son of Jupiter and no more

But what thou art besides, thou wert too base

To be his groom: thou wert dignified enough,

Even to the point of envy, if 'twere made

Comparative for your virtues, to be styled

The under-hangman of his kingdom, and hated

For being preferred so well.


CLOTEN The south-fog rot him!


IMOGEN He never can meet more mischance than come

To be but named of thee. His meanest garment,

That ever hath but clipp'd his body, is dearer

In my respect than all the hairs above thee,

Were they all made such men. How now, Pisanio!




CLOTEN 'His garment!' Now the devil--


IMOGEN To Dorothy my woman hie thee presently--


CLOTEN 'His garment!'


IMOGEN I am sprited with a fool.

Frighted, and anger'd worse: go bid my woman

Search for a jewel that too casually

Hath left mine arm: it was thy master's: 'shrew me,

If I would lose it for a revenue

Of any king's in Europe. I do think

I saw't this morning: confident I am

Last night 'twas on mine arm; I kiss'd it:

I hope it be not gone to tell my lord

That I kiss aught but he.


PISANIO 'Twill not be lost.


IMOGEN I hope so: go and search.




CLOTEN You have abused me:

'His meanest garment!'


IMOGEN Ay, I said so, sir:

If you will make't an action, call witness to't.


CLOTEN I will inform your father.


IMOGEN Your mother too:

She's my good lady, and will conceive, I hope,

But the worst of me. So, I leave you, sir,

To the worst of discontent.




CLOTEN I'll be revenged:

'His meanest garment!' Well.






SCENE IV Rome. Philario's house.




POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Fear it not, sir: I would I were so sure

To win the king as I am bold her honour

Will remain hers.


PHILARIO What means do you make to him?


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Not any, but abide the change of time,

Quake in the present winter's state and wish

That warmer days would come: in these sear'd hopes,

I barely gratify your love; they failing,

I must die much your debtor.


PHILARIO Your very goodness and your company

O'erpays all I can do. By this, your king

Hath heard of great Augustus: Caius Lucius

Will do's commission throughly: and I think

He'll grant the tribute, send the arrearages,

Or look upon our Romans, whose remembrance

Is yet fresh in their grief.



Statist though I am none, nor like to be,

That this will prove a war; and you shall hear

The legions now in Gallia sooner landed

In our not-fearing Britain than have tidings

Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen

Are men more order'd than when Julius Caesar

Smiled at their lack of skill, but found

their courage

Worthy his frowning at: their discipline,

Now mingled with their courages, will make known

To their approvers they are people such

That mend upon the world.




PHILARIO See! Iachimo!


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS The swiftest harts have posted you by land;

And winds of all the comers kiss'd your sails,

To make your vessel nimble.


PHILARIO Welcome, sir.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS I hope the briefness of your answer made

The speediness of your return.


IACHIMO Your lady

Is one of the fairest that I have look'd upon.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS And therewithal the best; or let her beauty

Look through a casement to allure false hearts

And be false with them.


IACHIMO Here are letters for you.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Their tenor good, I trust.


IACHIMO 'Tis very like.


PHILARIO Was Caius Lucius in the Britain court

When you were there?


IACHIMO He was expected then,

But not approach'd.



Sparkles this stone as it was wont? or is't not

Too dull for your good wearing?


IACHIMO If I had lost it,

I should have lost the worth of it in gold.

I'll make a journey twice as far, to enjoy

A second night of such sweet shortness which

Was mine in Britain, for the ring is won.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS The stone's too hard to come by.


IACHIMO Not a whit,

Your lady being so easy.



Your loss your sport: I hope you know that we

Must not continue friends.


IACHIMO Good sir, we must,

If you keep covenant. Had I not brought

The knowledge of your mistress home, I grant

We were to question further: but I now

Profess myself the winner of her honour,

Together with your ring; and not the wronger

Of her or you, having proceeded but

By both your wills.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS If you can make't apparent

That you have tasted her in bed, my hand

And ring is yours; if not, the foul opinion

You had of her pure honour gains or loses

Your sword or mine, or masterless leaves both

To who shall find them.


IACHIMO Sir, my circumstances,

Being so near the truth as I will make them,

Must first induce you to believe: whose strength

I will confirm with oath; which, I doubt not,

You'll give me leave to spare, when you shall find

You need it not.




IACHIMO First, her bedchamber,--

Where, I confess, I slept not, but profess

Had that was well worth watching--it was hang'd

With tapesty of silk and silver; the story

Proud Cleopatra, when she met her Roman,

And Cydnus swell'd above the banks, or for

The press of boats or pride: a piece of work

So bravely done, so rich, that it did strive

In workmanship and value; which I wonder'd

Could be so rarely and exactly wrought,

Since the true life on't was--



And this you might have heard of here, by me,

Or by some other.


IACHIMO More particulars

Must justify my knowledge.



Or do your honour injury.


IACHIMO The chimney

Is south the chamber, and the chimney-piece

Chaste Dian bathing: never saw I figures

So likely to report themselves: the cutter

Was as another nature, dumb; outwent her,

Motion and breath left out.



Which you might from relation likewise reap,

Being, as it is, much spoke of.


IACHIMO The roof o' the chamber

With golden cherubins is fretted: her andirons--

I had forgot them--were two winking Cupids

Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely

Depending on their brands.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS This is her honour!

Let it be granted you have seen all this--and praise

Be given to your remembrance--the description

Of what is in her chamber nothing saves

The wager you have laid.


IACHIMO Then, if you can,

[Showing the bracelet]

Be pale: I beg but leave to air this jewel; see!

And now 'tis up again: it must be married

To that your diamond; I'll keep them.



Once more let me behold it: is it that

Which I left with her?


IACHIMO Sir--I thank her--that:

She stripp'd it from her arm; I see her yet;

Her pretty action did outsell her gift,

And yet enrich'd it too: she gave it me, and said

She prized it once.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS May be she pluck'd it off

To send it me.


IACHIMO She writes so to you, doth she?


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS O, no, no, no! 'tis true. Here, take this too;

[Gives the ring]

It is a basilisk unto mine eye,

Kills me to look on't. Let there be no honour

Where there is beauty; truth, where semblance; love,

Where there's another man: the vows of women

Of no more bondage be, to where they are made,

Than they are to their virtues; which is nothing.

O, above measure false!


PHILARIO Have patience, sir,

And take your ring again; 'tis not yet won:

It may be probable she lost it; or

Who knows if one of her women, being corrupted,

Hath stol'n it from her?



And so, I hope, he came by't. Back my ring:

Render to me some corporal sign about her,

More evident than this; for this was stolen.


IACHIMO By Jupiter, I had it from her arm.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Hark you, he swears; by Jupiter he swears.

'Tis true:--nay, keep the ring--'tis true: I am sure

She would not lose it: her attendants are

All sworn and honourable:--they induced to steal it!

And by a stranger!--No, he hath enjoyed her:

The cognizance of her incontinency

Is this: she hath bought the name of whore

thus dearly.

There, take thy hire; and all the fiends of hell

Divide themselves between you!


PHILARIO Sir, be patient:

This is not strong enough to be believed

Of one persuaded well of--



She hath been colted by him.


IACHIMO If you seek

For further satisfying, under her breast--

Worthy the pressing--lies a mole, right proud

Of that most delicate lodging: by my life,

I kiss'd it; and it gave me present hunger

To feed again, though full. You do remember

This stain upon her?


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Ay, and it doth confirm

Another stain, as big as hell can hold,

Were there no more but it.


IACHIMO Will you hear more?


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Spare your arithmetic: never count the turns;

Once, and a million!


IACHIMO I'll be sworn--



If you will swear you have not done't, you lie;

And I will kill thee, if thou dost deny

Thou'st made me cuckold.


IACHIMO I'll deny nothing.


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS O, that I had her here, to tear her limb-meal!

I will go there and do't, i' the court, before

Her father. I'll do something--




PHILARIO Quite besides

The government of patience! You have won:

Let's follow him, and pervert the present wrath

He hath against himself.


IACHIMO With an my heart.






 SCENE V Another room in Philario's house.




POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Is there no way for men to be but women

Must be half-workers? We are all bastards;

And that most venerable man which I

Did call my father, was I know not where

When I was stamp'd; some coiner with his tools

Made me a counterfeit: yet my mother seem'd

The Dian of that time so doth my wife

The nonpareil of this. O, vengeance, vengeance!

Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd

And pray'd me oft forbearance; did it with

A pudency so rosy the sweet view on't

Might well have warm'd old Saturn; that I thought her

As chaste as unsunn'd snow. O, all the devils!

This yellow Iachimo, in an hour,--wast not?--

Or less,--at first?--perchance he spoke not, but,

Like a full-acorn'd boar, a German one,

Cried 'O!' and mounted; found no opposition

But what he look'd for should oppose and she

Should from encounter guard. Could I find out

The woman's part in me! For there's no motion

That tends to vice in man, but I affirm

It is the woman's part: be it lying, note it,

The woman's; flattering, hers; deceiving, hers;

Lust and rank thoughts, hers, hers; revenges, hers;

Ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain,

Nice longing, slanders, mutability,

All faults that may be named, nay, that hell knows,

Why, hers, in part or all; but rather, all;

For even to vice

They are not constant but are changing still

One vice, but of a minute old, for one

Not half so old as that. I'll write against them,

Detest them, curse them: yet 'tis greater skill

In a true hate, to pray they have their will:

The very devils cannot plague them better.






SCENE I Britain. A hall in Cymbeline's palace.


[Enter in state, CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN,

and Lords at one door, and at another,

CAIUS LUCIUS and Attendants]


CYMBELINE Now say, what would Augustus Caesar with us?


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 S     on, 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.


                 |We do.
Lords |


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.




CYMBELINE I know your master's pleasure and he mine:

All the remain is 'Welcome!'






 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?


'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!




'Justice, and your father's wrath, should he take me

in his dominion, could not be so cruel to me, as

you, O the dearest of creatures, would even renew me

with your eyes. Take notice that I am in Cambria,

at Milford-Haven: what your own love will out of

this advise you, follow. So he wishes you all

happiness, that remains loyal to his vow, and your,

increasing in love,



O, for a horse with wings! Hear'st thou, Pisanio?

He is at Milford-Haven: read, and tell me

How far 'tis thither. If one of mean affairs

May plod it in a week, why may not I

Glide thither in a day? Then, true Pisanio,--

Who long'st, like me, to see thy lord; who long'st,--

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:




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.






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 the theme, my name

Was not far off: then was I as a tree

Whose boughs did bend with fruit: but in one night,

A storm or robbery, call it what you will,

Shook down my mellow hangings, nay, my leaves,

And left me bare to weather.


GUIDERIUS Uncertain favour!


BELARIUS My fault being nothing--as I have told you oft--

But that two villains, whose false oaths prevail'd

Before my perfect honour, swore to Cymbeline

I was confederate with the Romans: so

Follow'd my banishment, and this twenty years

This rock and these demesnes have been my world;

Where I have 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.




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.





SCENE IV Country near Milford-Haven.




IMOGEN Thou told'st me, when we came from horse, the place

Was near at hand: ne'er long'd my mother so

To see me first, as I have now. Pisanio! man!

Where is Posthumus? What is in thy mind,

That makes thee stare thus? Wherefore breaks that sigh

From 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.



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!


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.


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!


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--


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.


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.


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.


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!






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