Psst. Thanks for trying out Scriptlighter. We hope you like it.

Do you think you may use it again in the future?

Thanks for your feedback.

We're glad to hear that Scriptlighter works for you. If you're interested in helping us make Scriptlighter better, please fill out our short survey about your experience.

Take the survey

Found a problem with the play?

Fix it


by William Shakespeare

Dramatis Personae

Act 1

Scene 1

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’s.

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 referred herself Unto a poor but worthy gentleman. She’s wedded, Her husband banished, she imprisoned. All Is outward sorrow, though I think the King Be touched 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 looks, hath a heart that is not Glad at the thing they scowl at.

Second Gentleman:And why so?

First Gentleman:He that hath missed 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 banished—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 called Sicilius, who did join his honor Against the Romans with Cassibelan, But had his titles by Tenantius, whom He served with glory and admired success, So gained the sur-addition Leonatus; And had, besides this gentleman in question, Two other sons, who in the wars o’ th’ time Died with their swords in hand. For which their father, Then old and fond of issue, took such sorrow That he quit being; and his gentle lady, Big of this gentleman our theme, 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 bedchamber, 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 ministered, 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 th’ more mature A glass that feated them, and to the graver A child that guided dotards. To his mistress, For whom he now is banished, her own price Proclaims how she esteemed him; and his virtue By her election may be truly read What kind of man he is.

Second Gentleman:I honor him Even out of your report. But pray you tell me, Is she sole child to th’ King?

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

Second Gentleman:How long is this ago?

First Gentleman:Some twenty years.

Second Gentleman:That a king’s children should be so conveyed, 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 laughed 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.

They exit.

Enter the Queen, Posthumus, and Imogen.

Cymbeline’s 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 jailer shall deliver you the keys That lock up your restraint.—For you, Posthumus, So soon as I can win th’ offended king, I will be known your advocate. Marry, yet The fire of rage is in him, and ’twere good You leaned unto his sentence with what patience Your wisdom may inform you.

Posthumus Leonatus:Please your Highness, I will from hence today.

Cymbeline’s Queen:You know the peril. I’ll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying The pangs of barred affections, though the King Hath charged you should not speak together.

She exits.

Imogen:O, Dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant Can tickle where she wounds! My dearest husband, I something fear my father’s wrath, but nothing— Always 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.

She weeps.

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.

Enter Queen.

Cymbeline’s Queen:Be brief, I pray you. If the King come, I shall incur I know not How much of his displeasure. [(Aside.)] Yet I’ll move him To walk this way. I never do him wrong But he does buy my injuries, to be friends, Pays dear for my offenses.

She exits.

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. [(She offers a ring.)] 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 cere up my embracements from a next With bonds of death. [(He puts the ring on his finger.)] 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. [He offers a bracelet.] It is a manacle of love. I’ll place it Upon this fairest prisoner.

He puts it on her wrist.

Imogen:O the gods! When shall we see again?

Enter Cymbeline and Lords.

Posthumus Leonatus:Alack, the King.

Cymbeline:Thou basest thing, avoid hence, from my sight! If after this command thou fraught the court With thy unworthiness, thou diest. Away! Thou ’rt poison to my blood.

Posthumus Leonatus:The gods protect you, And bless the good remainders of the court. I am gone.

He exits.

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, blessèd 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 luster to it.

Cymbeline:O thou vile one!

Imogen:Sir, 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 neatherd’s daughter, and my Leonatus Our neighbor shepherd’s son.

She weeps.

Cymbeline:Thou foolish thing! [Enter Queen.] They were again together. You have done Not after our command. Away with her And pen her up.

Cymbeline’s 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.

He exits, with Lords.

Cymbeline’s Queen:Fie, you must give way. [Enter Pisanio.] Here is your servant.—How now, sir? What news?

Pisanio:My lord your son drew on my master.

Cymbeline’s Queen:Ha? No harm, I trust, is done?

Pisanio:There might have been, But that my master rather played than fought And had no help of anger. They were parted By gentlemen at hand.

Cymbeline’s 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.

Cymbeline’s Queen:[to Imogen] This hath been Your faithful servant. I dare lay mine honor He will remain so.

Pisanio:I humbly thank your Highness.

Cymbeline’s Queen:[to Imogen] Pray, walk awhile.

Imogen:[to Pisanio] About some half hour hence, Pray you, speak with me. You shall at least Go see my lord aboard. For this time leave me.

They exit.

Scene 2

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’ th’ 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.

They exit.

Scene 3

Enter Imogen and Pisanio.

Imogen:I would thou grew’st unto the shores o’ th’ haven And questionedst every sail. If he should write And I not have it, ’twere a paper lost As offered 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 kissed 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 sailed on, How swift his ship.

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

Pisanio:Madam, so I did.

Imogen:I would have broke mine eyestrings, cracked them, but To look upon him till the diminution Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle; Nay, followed him till he had melted from The smallness of a gnat to air; and then Have turned 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 honor; or have charged him At the sixth hour of morn, at noon, at midnight T’ encounter me with orisons, for then I am in heaven for him; or ere I could Give him that parting kiss which I had set Betwixt two charming words, comes in my father, And like the tyrannous breathing of the north Shakes all our buds from growing.

Enter a Lady.

First Lady:The Queen, madam, Desires your Highness’ company.

Imogen:[to Pisanio] Those things I bid you do, get them dispatched. I will attend the Queen.

Pisanio:Madam, I shall.

They exit.

Scene 4

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.

A 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.

A Frenchman:And then his banishment.

Iachimo:Ay, and the approbation of those that weep this lamentable divorce under her colors are wonderfully to extend him, be it but to fortify her judgment, which else an easy battery might lay flat for taking a beggar without less quality.—But how comes it he is to sojourn with you? How creeps acquaintance?

Philario:His father and I were soldiers together, to whom I have been often bound for no less than my life. [Enter Posthumus.] 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.

A Frenchman:[to Posthumus] 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.

A Frenchman:Sir, you o’errate my poor kindness. I was glad I did atone my countryman and you. It had been pity you should have been put together with so mortal a purpose as then each bore, upon importance of so slight and trivial a nature.

Posthumus Leonatus:By your pardon, sir, I was then a young traveler, 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.

A Frenchman:Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrament of swords, and by such two that would by all likelihood have confounded one the other or have fall’n both.

Iachimo:Can we with manners ask what was the difference?

A 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 outlusters 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, or 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 neighboring 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 honor 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.

Posthumus Leonatus:No, no.

Iachimo:I dare thereupon pawn the moiety of my estate to your ring, which in my opinion o’ervalues it something. But I make my wager rather against your confidence than her reputation, and, to bar your offense 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 neighbor’s on th’ 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 honor 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 a friend, and therein the wiser. If you buy ladies’ flesh at a million a dram, you cannot preserve it from tainting. But I see you have some religion in you, that you fear.

Posthumus 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 honor 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 th’ assault you have made to her chastity, you shall answer me with your sword.

Iachimo:Your hand; a covenant. [(They shake hands.)] We will have these things set down by lawful counsel, and straight away for Britain, lest the bargain should catch cold and starve. I will fetch my gold and have our two wagers recorded.

Posthumus Leonatus:Agreed.

Iachimo and Posthumus exit.

A Frenchman:Will this hold, think you?

Philario:Signior Iachimo will not from it. Pray, let us follow ’em.

They exit.

Scene 5

Enter Queen, Ladies, and Cornelius.

Cymbeline’s Queen:Whiles yet the dew’s on ground, gather those flowers. Make haste. Who has the note of them?

Second Lady:I, madam.

Cymbeline’s Queen:Dispatch. [Ladies exit.] Now, Master Doctor, have you brought those drugs?

Cornelius:Pleaseth your Highness, ay. Here they are, madam. [He hands her a small box.] But I beseech your Grace, without offense— My conscience bids me ask—wherefore you have Commanded of me these most poisonous compounds, Which are the movers of a languishing death, But though slow, deadly.

Cymbeline’s Queen:I wonder, doctor, Thou ask’st me such a question. Have I not been Thy pupil long? Hast thou not learned 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 vigor of them and apply Allayments to their act, and by them gather Their several virtues and effects.

Cornelius:Your Highness Shall from this practice but make hard your heart. Besides, the seeing these effects will be Both noisome and infectious.

Cymbeline’s Queen:O, content thee. [Enter Pisanio.] [Aside.] Here comes a flattering rascal. Upon him Will I first work. He’s for his master And 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.

Cymbeline’s Queen:[to Pisanio] Hark thee, a word.

Cornelius:[aside] I do not like her. She doth think she has Strange ling’ring poisons. I do know her spirit, And will not trust one of her malice with A drug of such damned 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 fooled With a most false effect, and I the truer So to be false with her.

Cymbeline’s Queen:No further service, doctor, Until I send for thee.

Cornelius:I humbly take my leave.

He exits.

Cymbeline’s Queen:Weeps she still, sayst 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? [(She drops the box and Pisanio picks it up.)] Thou tak’st up Thou know’st not what. But take it for thy labor. It is a thing I made which hath the King Five times redeemed from death. I do not know What is more cordial. Nay, I prithee, take it. It is an earnest of a farther 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. [Pisanio exits.] A sly and constant knave, Not to be shaked; the agent for his master And the remembrancer of her to hold The handfast 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 humor, shall be assured To taste of too. [Enter Pisanio and Ladies carrying flowers.] [To the 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.

Queen and Ladies exit.

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.

He exits.

Scene 6

Enter Imogen alone.

Imogen:A father cruel and a stepdame false, A foolish suitor to a wedded lady That hath her husband banished. O, that husband, My supreme crown of grief and those repeated Vexations of it! Had I been thief-stol’n, As my two brothers, happy; but most miserable Is the desire that’s glorious. Blessed be those, How mean soe’er, that have their honest wills, Which seasons comfort. Who may this be? Fie!

Enter Pisanio and Iachimo.

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.

He gives her 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 furnished with a mind so rare, She is alone th’ Arabian bird, and I Have lost the wager. Boldness be my friend. Arm me, audacity, from head to foot, Or like the Parthian I shall flying fight— Rather, directly fly.

Imogen:[reads:] He is one of the noblest note, to whose kindnesses I am most infinitely tied. Reflect upon him accordingly as you value your trust. Leonatus. So far I read aloud. But even the very middle of my heart Is warmed by th’ rest and takes it thankfully.— You are as welcome, worthy sir, as I Have words to bid you, and shall find it so In all that I can do.

Iachimo:Thanks, fairest lady.— What, are men mad? Hath nature given them eyes To see this vaulted arch and the rich crop Of sea and land, which can distinguish ’twixt The fiery orbs above and the twinned stones Upon the numbered beach, and can we not Partition make with spectacles so precious ’Twixt fair and foul?

Imogen:What makes your admiration?

Iachimo:It cannot be i’ th’ eye, for apes and monkeys ’Twixt two such shes would chatter this way and Contemn with mows the other; nor i’ th’ judgment, For idiots in this case of favor would Be wisely definite; nor i’ th’ 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 cloyèd will, That satiate yet unsatisfied desire, that tub Both filled 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. [(To Pisanio.)] Beseech you, sir, Desire my man’s abode where I did leave him. He’s strange and peevish.

Pisanio:I was going, sir, To give him welcome.

He exits.

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 called The Briton Reveler.

Imogen:When he was here He did incline to sadness, and ofttimes Not knowing why.

Iachimo:I never saw him sad. There is a Frenchman his companion, one An eminent monsieur that, it seems, much loves A Gallian girl at home. He furnaces The thick sighs from him, whiles the jolly Briton— Your lord, I mean—laughs from ’s free lungs, cries "O, Can my sides hold to think that man who knows By history, report, or his own proof What woman is, yea, what she cannot choose But must be, will ’s free hours languish for Assurèd 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 wrack discern you in me Deserves your pity?

Iachimo:Lamentable! What, To hide me from the radiant sun and solace I’ th’ dungeon by a snuff?

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

Iachimo:That others do— I was about to say, enjoy your—but It is an office of the gods to venge it, Not mine to speak on ’t.

Imogen:You do seem to know Something of me or what concerns me. Pray you, Since doubting things go ill often hurts more Than to be sure they do—for certainties Either are past remedies, or, timely knowing, The remedy then born—discover to me What both you spur and stop.

Iachimo:Had I this cheek To bathe my lips upon; this hand, whose touch, Whose every touch, would force the feeler’s soul To th’ oath of loyalty; this object which Takes prisoner the wild motion of mine eye, Fixing it only here; should I, damned 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 labor; then by-peeping in an eye Base and illustrous 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 my mutest conscience to my tongue Charms this report out.

Imogen:Let me hear no more.

Iachimo:O dearest soul, your cause doth strike my heart With pity that doth make me sick. A lady So fair, and fastened to an empery Would make the great’st king double, to be partnered 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 boiled 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 honorable, 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 honor, and Solicits here a lady that disdains Thee and the devil alike.—What ho, Pisanio!— The King my father shall be made acquainted Of thy assault. If he shall think it fit A saucy stranger in his court to mart As in a Romish stew and to expound His beastly mind to us, he hath a court He little cares for and a daughter who He not respects at all.—What ho, Pisanio!

Iachimo:O happy Leonatus! I may say The credit that thy lady hath of thee Deserves thy trust, and thy most perfect goodness Her assured credit.—Blessèd live you long, A lady to the worthiest sir that ever Country called 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 mannered, 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 honor sets him off More than a mortal seeming. Be not angry, Most mighty princess, that I have adventured To try your taking of a false report, which hath Honored 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’ th’ court for yours.

Iachimo:My humble thanks. I had almost forgot T’ entreat your Grace but in a small request, And yet of moment too, for it concerns. Your lord, myself, and other noble friends Are partners in the business.

Imogen:Pray, what is ’t?

Iachimo:Some dozen Romans of us and your lord— The best feather of our wing—have mingled sums To buy a present for the Emperor; Which I, the factor for the rest, have done In France. ’Tis plate of rare device and jewels Of rich and exquisite form, their values great. And I am something curious, being strange, To have them in safe stowage. May it please you To take them in protection?

Imogen:Willingly; And pawn mine honor 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 tomorrow.

Imogen:O no, no.

Iachimo:Yes, I beseech, or I shall short my word By length’ning my return. From Gallia I crossed the seas on purpose and on promise To see your Grace.

Imogen:I thank you for your pains. But not away tomorrow.

Iachimo:O, I must, madam. Therefore I shall beseech you, if you please To greet your lord with writing, do ’t tonight. I have outstood my time, which is material To th’ tender of our present.

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

They exit.

Act 2

Scene 1

Enter Cloten and the two Lords.

Cloten:Was there ever man had such luck? When I kissed the jack, upon an upcast 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, [(aside)] nor crop the ears of them.

Cloten:Whoreson dog! I gave him satisfaction. Would he had been one of my rank.

Second Lord:[aside] To have smelled like a fool.

Cloten:I am not vexed more at anything in th’ Earth. A pox on ’t! I had rather not be so noble as I am. They dare not fight with me because of the Queen my mother. Every 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 offense to.

Cloten:No, I know that, but it is fit I should commit offense 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 tonight?

Cloten:A stranger, and I not know on ’t?

Second Lord:[aside] He’s a strange fellow himself and knows it not.

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 today at bowls I’ll win tonight of him. Come, go.

Second Lord:I’ll attend your Lordship. [Cloten and First Lord exit.] That such a crafty devil as is his mother Should yield the world this ass! A woman that Bears all down with her brain, and this her son Cannot take two from twenty, for his heart, And leave eighteen. Alas, poor princess, Thou divine Imogen, what thou endur’st, Betwixt a father by thy stepdame governed, A mother hourly coining plots, a wooer More hateful than the foul expulsion is Of thy dear husband, than that horrid act Of the divorce he’d make! The heavens hold firm The walls of thy dear honor, keep unshaked That temple, thy fair mind, that thou mayst stand T’ enjoy thy banished lord and this great land.

He exits.

Scene 2

A trunk is brought in. Enter Imogen, reading, in her bed, and a Lady.

Imogen:Who’s there? My woman Helen?

First Lady:Please you, madam.

Imogen:What hour is it?

First Lady:Almost midnight, madam.

Imogen:I have read three hours then. Mine eyes are weak. [She hands the Lady her book.] Fold down the leaf where I have left. To bed. Take not away the taper; leave it burning. And if thou canst awake by four o’ th’ clock, I prithee, call me. [(Lady exits.)] Sleep hath seized me wholly. To your protection I commend me, gods. From fairies and the tempters of the night Guard me, beseech you.


Iachimo from the trunk.

Iachimo:The crickets sing, and man’s o’erlabored sense Repairs itself by rest. Our Tarquin thus Did softly press the rushes ere he wakened The chastity he wounded.—Cytherea, How bravely thou becom’st thy bed, fresh lily, And whiter than the sheets.—That I might touch! But kiss, one kiss! Rubies unparagoned, How dearly they do ’t. ’Tis her breathing that Perfumes the chamber thus. The flame o’ th’ taper Bows toward her and would underpeep her lids To see th’ enclosèd 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. [He begins to write.] Such and such pictures; there the window; such Th’ adornment of her bed; the arras, figures, Why, such and such; and the contents o’ th’ story. [He continues to write.] Ah, but some natural notes about her body Above ten thousand meaner movables Would testify t’ enrich mine inventory. O sleep, thou ape of death, lie dull upon her, And be her sense but as a monument Thus in a chapel lying. [(He begins to remove her bracelet.)] Come off, come off; As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard. ’Tis mine, and this will witness outwardly As strongly as the conscience does within To th’ madding of her lord. On her left breast A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops I’ th’ bottom of a cowslip. Here’s a voucher Stronger than ever law could make. This secret Will force him think I have picked the lock and ta’en The treasure of her honor. No more. To what end? Why should I write this down that’s riveted, Screwed to my memory? She hath been reading late The tale of Tereus; here the leaf’s turned down Where Philomel gave up. I have enough. To th’ trunk again, and shut the spring of it. Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning May bare the raven’s eye. I lodge in fear. Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here. [Clock strikes.] One, two, three. Time, time!

He exits into the trunk. The trunk and bed are removed.

Scene 3

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 a-mornings; they say it will penetrate. [Enter Musicians.] Come on, tune. If you can penetrate her with your fingering, so. We’ll try with tongue, too. If none will do, let her remain, but I’ll never give o’er. First, a very excellent good-conceited thing; after, a wonderful sweet air, with admirable rich words to it, and then let her consider.

Musicians begin to play.

Musicians: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 everything 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 horsehairs and calves’ guts, nor the voice of unpaved eunuch to boot, can never amend.

Musicians exit.

Enter Cymbeline and Queen, with Attendants.

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 musics, but she vouchsafes no notice.

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

Cymbeline’s Queen:[to Cloten] You are most bound to th’ King, Who lets go by no vantages that may Prefer you to his daughter. Frame yourself To orderly solicits 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:[to Cymbeline] So like you, sir, ambassadors from Rome; The one is Caius Lucius.

Messenger exits.

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 honor of his sender, And towards himself, his goodness forespent on us, We must extend our notice.—Our dear son, When you have given good morning to your mistress, Attend the Queen and us. We shall have need T’ employ you towards this Roman.—Come, our queen.

Cymbeline and Queen exit, with Lords and Attendants.

Cloten:If she be up, I’ll speak with her; if not, Let her lie still and dream. [(He knocks.)] 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 th’ stand o’ th’ stealer; and ’tis gold Which makes the true man killed 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.

First Lady:Who’s there that knocks?

Cloten:A gentleman.

First Lady:No more?

Cloten:Yes, and a gentlewoman’s son.

First 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?

First Lady:Ay, To keep her chamber.

Cloten:There is gold for you. Sell me your good report.

He offers a purse.

First Lady:How, my good name? Or to report of you What I shall think is good? [Enter Imogen.] The Princess.

Lady exits.

Cloten:Good morrow, fairest sister. Your sweet hand.

Imogen:Good morrow, sir. You lay out too much pains For purchasing but trouble. The thanks I give Is telling you that I am poor of thanks And scarce can spare them.

Cloten:Still I swear I love you.

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

Cloten:This is no answer.

Imogen:But that you shall not say I yield being silent, I would not speak. I pray you, spare me. Faith, I shall unfold equal discourtesy To your best kindness. One of your great knowing Should learn, being taught, forbearance.

Cloten:To leave you in your madness ’twere my sin. I will not.

Imogen:Fools are not mad folks.

Cloten:Do you call me fool?

Imogen:As I am mad, I do. If you’ll be patient, I’ll no more be mad. That cures us both. I am much sorry, sir, You put me to forget a lady’s manners By being so verbal; and learn now for all That I, which know my heart, do here pronounce, By th’ very truth of it, I care not for you, And am so near the lack of charity To accuse myself I hate you—which I had rather You felt than make ’t my boast.

Cloten:You sin against Obedience, which you owe your father. For The contract you pretend with that base wretch— One bred of alms and fostered with cold dishes, With scraps o’ th’ court—it is no contract, none; And though it be allowed in meaner parties— Yet who than he more mean?—to knit their souls, On whom there is no more dependency But brats and beggary, in self-figured knot; Yet you are curbed from that enlargement by The consequence o’ th’ crown, and must not foil The precious note of it with a base slave, A hilding for a livery, a squire’s cloth, A pantler—not so eminent.

Imogen:Profane fellow, Wert thou the son of Jupiter and no more But what thou art besides, thou wert too base To be his groom. Thou wert dignified enough, Even to the point of envy, if ’twere made Comparative for your virtues to be 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 mean’st garment That ever hath but clipped his body is dearer In my respect than all the hairs above thee, Were they all made such men.—How now, Pisanio!

Enter Pisanio.

Cloten:"His garment"? Now the devil—

Imogen:[to Pisanio] To Dorothy, my woman, hie thee presently.

Cloten:"His garment"?

Imogen:[to Pisanio] I am sprighted with a fool, Frighted and angered 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 kissed 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.

Pisanio exits.

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 th’ worst of discontent.

She exits.

Cloten:I’ll be revenged! "His mean’st garment"? Well.

He exits.

Scene 4

Enter Posthumus and Philario.

Posthumus Leonatus:Fear it not, sir. I would I were so sure To win the King as I am bold her honor 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 feared hopes I barely gratify your love; they failing, I must die much your debtor.

Philario:Your very goodness and your company O’erpays all I can do. By this, your king Hath heard of great Augustus. Caius Lucius Will do ’s commission throughly. And I think He’ll grant the tribute, send th’ arrearages, Or look upon our Romans, whose remembrance Is yet fresh in their grief.

Posthumus Leonatus:I do believe, Statist though I am none nor like to be, That this will prove a war; and you shall hear The legion now in Gallia sooner landed In our not-fearing Britain than have tidings Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen Are men more ordered than when Julius Caesar Smiled at their lack of skill but found their courage Worthy his frowning at. Their discipline, Now wingèd with their courages, will make known To their approvers they are people such That mend upon the world.

Enter Iachimo.

Philario:See, Iachimo!

Posthumus Leonatus:The swiftest harts have posted you by land, And winds of all the corners kissed 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 looked upon.

Posthumus Leonatus:And therewithal the best, or let her beauty Look thorough a casement to allure false hearts And be false with them.

Iachimo:[handing him a paper] Here are letters for you.

Posthumus Leonatus:Their tenor good, I trust.

Iachimo:’Tis very like.

Posthumus reads the letter.

Philario:Was Caius Lucius in the Briton court When you were there?

Iachimo:He was expected then, but not approached.

Posthumus Leonatus:All is well yet. Sparkles this stone as it was wont, or is ’t not Too dull for your good wearing?

He indicates his ring.

Iachimo:If I have lost it, I should have lost the worth of it in gold. I’ll make a journey twice as far t’ enjoy A second night of such sweet shortness which Was mine in Britain, for the ring is won.

Posthumus Leonatus:The stone’s too hard to come by.

Iachimo:Not a whit, Your lady being so easy.

Posthumus Leonatus:Make not, sir, Your loss your sport. I hope you know that we Must not continue friends.

Iachimo:Good sir, we must, If you keep covenant. Had I not brought The knowledge of your mistress home, I grant We were to question farther; but I now Profess myself the winner of her honor, 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 honor gains or loses Your sword or mine, or masterless leave 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.

Posthumus Leonatus:Proceed.

Iachimo:First, her bedchamber— Where I confess I slept not, but profess Had that was well worth watching—it was hanged With tapestry of silk and silver, the story Proud Cleopatra when she met her Roman And Cydnus swelled 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 wondered Could be so rarely and exactly wrought Since the true life on ’t was—

Posthumus Leonatus:This is true, And this you might have heard of here, by me Or by some other.

Iachimo:More particulars Must justify my knowledge.

Posthumus Leonatus:So they must, Or do your honor 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.

Posthumus Leonatus:This is a thing Which you might from relation likewise reap, Being, as it is, much spoke of.

Iachimo:The roof o’ th’ chamber With golden cherubins is fretted. Her andirons— I had forgot them—were two winking Cupids Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely Depending on their brands.

Posthumus Leonatus:This is her honor? 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 Be pale, I beg but leave to air this jewel. See— [He shows the bracelet.] And now ’tis up again. It must be married To that your diamond. I’ll keep them.

Posthumus Leonatus:Jove! Once more let me behold it. Is it that Which I left with her?

Iachimo:Sir, I thank her, that. She stripped it from her arm. I see her yet. Her pretty action did outsell her gift And yet enriched it too. She gave it me And said she prized it once.

Posthumus Leonatus:Maybe she plucked 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. [He gives Iachimo the ring.] It is a basilisk unto mine eye, Kills me to look on ’t. Let there be no honor Where there is beauty, truth where semblance, love Where there’s another man. The vows of women Of no more bondage be to where they are made Than they are to their virtues, which is nothing. O, above measure false!

Philario:Have patience, sir, And take your ring again. ’Tis not yet won. It may be probable she lost it; or Who knows if one her women, being corrupted, Hath stol’n it from her.

Posthumus Leonatus:Very true, And so I hope he came by ’t.—Back, my ring! [He takes back the ring.] Render to me some corporal sign about her More evident than this, for this was stol’n.

Iachimo:By Jupiter, I had it from her arm.

Posthumus Leonatus:Hark you, he swears! By Jupiter he swears. ’Tis true—nay, keep the ring—’tis true. [He holds out the ring.] I am sure She would not lose it. Her attendants are All sworn and honorable. 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!

He gives the ring to Iachimo.

Philario:Sir, be patient. This is not strong enough to be believed Of one persuaded well of.

Posthumus Leonatus:Never talk on ’t. She hath been colted by him.

Iachimo:If you seek For further satisfying, under her breast, Worthy the pressing, lies a mole, right proud Of that most delicate lodging. By my life, I kissed 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—

Posthumus Leonatus:No swearing. If you will swear you have not done ’t, you lie, And I will kill thee if thou dost deny Thou ’st made me cuckold.

Iachimo:I’ll deny nothing.

Posthumus Leonatus:O, that I had her here, to tear her limb-meal! I will go there and do ’t i’ th’ court, before Her father. I’ll do something.

He exits.

Philario:Quite beside The government of patience. You have won. Let’s follow him and pervert the present wrath He hath against himself.

Iachimo:With all my heart.

They exit.

Scene 5

Enter Posthumus.

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 stamped. Some coiner with his tools Made me a counterfeit; yet my mother seemed The Dian of that time; so doth my wife The nonpareil of this. O, vengeance, vengeance! Me of my lawful pleasure she restrained And prayed me oft forbearance; did it with A pudency so rosy the sweet view on ’t Might well have warmed old Saturn, that I thought her As chaste as unsunned snow. O, all the devils! This yellow Iachimo in an hour, was ’t not? Or less? At first? Perchance he spoke not, but, Like a full-acorned boar, a German one, Cried "O!" and mounted; found no opposition But what he looked 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 have a name, nay, that hell knows, Why, hers, in part or all, but rather all. For even to vice They are not constant, but are changing still One vice but of a minute old for one Not half so old as that. I’ll write against them, Detest them, curse them. Yet ’tis greater skill In a true hate to pray they have their will; The very devils cannot plague them better.

He exits.

Act 3

Scene 1

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 conquered 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 untendered.

Cymbeline’s Queen:And, to kill the marvel, Shall be so ever.

Cloten:There be many Caesars Ere such another Julius. Britain’s a world By itself, and we will nothing pay For wearing our own noses.

Cymbeline’s 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 palèd in With rocks unscalable and roaring waters, With sands that will not bear your enemies’ boats But suck them up to th’ topmast. A kind of conquest Caesar made here, but made not here his brag Of "came, and saw, and overcame." With shame— The first that ever touched him—he was carried From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping, Poor ignorant baubles, on our terrible seas Like eggshells moved upon their surges, cracked As easily ’gainst our rocks. For joy whereof The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point— O, giglet 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 more such Caesars. Other of them may have crooked noses, but to owe such straight arms, none.

Cymbeline:Son, let your mother end.

Cloten:We have yet many among us can grip 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:[to Lucius] You must know, Till the injurious Romans did extort This tribute from us, we were free. Caesar’s ambition, Which swelled so much that it did almost stretch The sides o’ th’ world, against all color here Did put the yoke upon ’s, which to shake off Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon Ourselves to be. We do say, then, to Caesar, Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which Ordained 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 called 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 gathered honor, Which he to seek of me again perforce Behooves 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 saltwater 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.

They exit.

Scene 2

Enter Pisanio reading of a letter.

Pisanio:How? Of adultery? Wherefore write you not What monsters her accuse? Leonatus, O master, what a strange infection Is fall’n into thy ear! What false Italian, As poisonous-tongued as handed, hath prevailed On thy too ready hearing? Disloyal? No. She’s punished for her truth and undergoes, More goddesslike than wifelike, 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? [(He reads:)] Do ’t! The letter That I have sent her, by her own command Shall give thee opportunity. O damned paper, Black as the ink that’s on thee! Senseless bauble, Art thou a fedary for this act, and look’st So virginlike without? Lo, here she comes. [Enter Imogen.] I am ignorant in what I am commanded.

Imogen:How now, Pisanio?

Pisanio:Madam, here is a letter from my lord.

He gives her a paper.

Imogen:Who, thy lord that is my lord, Leonatus? O, learned indeed were that astronomer That knew the stars as I his characters! He’d lay the future open. You good gods, Let what is here contained 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. [She opens the letter.] Blest be You bees that make these locks of counsel. Lovers And men in dangerous bonds pray not alike; Though forfeiters you cast in prison, yet You clasp young Cupid’s tables. Good news, gods! [Reads.] Justice and your father’s wrath, should he take me in his dominion, could not be so cruel to me as you, O the dearest of creatures, would even renew me with your eyes. Take notice that I am in Cambria at Milford Haven. What your own love will out of this advise you, follow. So he wishes you all happiness, that remains loyal to his vow, and your increasing in love. Leonatus Posthumus. O, for a horse with wings! Hear’st thou, Pisanio? He is at Milford Haven. Read, and tell me How far ’tis thither. If one of mean affairs May plod it in a week, why may not I Glide thither in a day? Then, true Pisanio, Who long’st like me to see thy lord, who long’st— O, let me bate—but not like me, yet long’st But in a fainter kind—O, not like me, For mine’s beyond beyond—say, and speak thick— Love’s counselor should fill the bores of hearing To th’ smothering of the sense—how far it is To this same blessèd Milford. And by th’ way Tell me how Wales was made so happy as T’ inherit such a haven. But first of all, How we may steal from hence, and for the gap That we shall make in time from our hence-going And our return, to excuse. But first, how get hence? Why should excuse be born or ere begot? We’ll talk of that hereafter. Prithee speak, How many score of miles may we well rid ’Twixt hour and hour?

Pisanio:One score ’twixt sun and sun, Madam, ’s enough for you, and too much too.

Imogen:Why, one that rode to ’s execution, man, Could never go so slow. I have heard of riding wagers Where horses have been nimbler than the sands That run i’ th’ clock’s behalf. But this is fool’ry. Go, bid my woman feign a sickness, say She’ll home to her father; and provide me presently A riding suit no costlier than would fit A franklin’s huswife.

Pisanio:Madam, you’re best consider.

Imogen:I see before me, man. Nor here, nor here, Nor what ensues, but have a fog in them That I cannot look through. Away, I prithee. Do as I bid thee. There’s no more to say. Accessible is none but Milford way.

They exit.

Scene 3

Enter, as from a cave, Belarius as Morgan, Guiderius as Polydor, and Arviragus as Cadwal.

Belarius:[as Morgan] A goodly day not to keep house with such Whose roof’s as low as ours! Stoop, boys. This gate Instructs you how t’ adore the heavens and bows you To a morning’s holy office. The gates of monarchs Are arched so high that giants may jet through And keep their impious turbans on, without Good morrow to the sun. Hail, thou fair heaven! We house i’ th’ rock, yet use thee not so hardly As prouder livers do.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Hail, heaven!

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Hail, heaven!

Belarius:[as Morgan] 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 allowed. 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-winged eagle. O, this life Is nobler than attending for a check, Richer than doing nothing for a robe, Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk: Such gain the cap of him that makes him fine Yet keeps his book uncrossed. No life to ours.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Out of your proof you speak. We poor unfledged Have never winged from view o’ th’ nest, nor know not What air ’s from home. Haply this life is best If quiet life be best, sweeter to you That have a sharper known, well corresponding With your stiff age; but unto us it is A cell of ignorance, traveling abed, A prison for a debtor that not dares To stride a limit.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] 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 valor is to chase what flies. Our cage We make a choir, as doth the prisoned bird, And sing our bondage freely.

Belarius:[as Morgan] How you speak! Did you but know the city’s usuries And felt them knowingly; the art o’ th’ court, As hard to leave as keep, whose top to climb Is certain falling, or so slipp’ry that The fear’s as bad as falling; the toil o’ th’ war, A pain that only seems to seek out danger I’ th’ name of fame and honor, which dies i’ th’ search And hath as oft a sland’rous epitaph As record of fair act—nay, many times Doth ill deserve by doing well; what’s worse, Must curtsy at the censure. O boys, this story The world may read in me. My body’s marked 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:[as Polydor] Uncertain favor!

Belarius:[as Morgan] My fault being nothing, as I have told you oft, But that two villains, whose false oaths prevailed Before my perfect honor, swore to Cymbeline I was confederate with the Romans. So Followed 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 th’ mountains! This is not hunters’ language. He that strikes The venison first shall be the lord o’ th’ feast; To him the other two shall minister, And we will fear no poison, which attends In place of greater state. I’ll meet you in the valleys.

Guiderius and Arviragus exit.

Belarius:How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature! These boys know little they are sons to th’ King, Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive. They think they are mine, and, though trained up thus meanly, I’ th’ cave wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit The roofs of palaces, and nature prompts them In simple and low things to prince it much Beyond the trick of others. This Polydor, The heir of Cymbeline and Britain, who The King his father called 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 refts me of my lands. Euriphile, Thou wast their nurse; they took thee for their mother, And every day do honor to her grave. Myself, Belarius, that am Morgan called, They take for natural father. The game is up!

He exits.

Scene 4

Enter Pisanio and Imogen.

Imogen:Thou told’st me, when we came from horse, the place Was near at hand. Ne’er longed my mother so To see me first as I have now. Pisanio, man, Where is Posthumus? What is in thy mind That makes thee stare thus? Wherefore breaks that sigh From th’ inward of thee? One but painted thus Would be interpreted a thing perplexed Beyond self-explication. Put thyself Into a havior of less fear, ere wildness Vanquish my staider senses. What’s the matter? [Pisanio hands her a paper.] Why tender’st thou that paper to me with A look untender? If ’t be summer news, Smile to ’t before; if winterly, thou need’st But keep that count’nance still. My husband’s hand! That drug-damned 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 disdained of fortune.

Imogen:[reads:] Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath played the strumpet in my bed, the testimonies whereof lies bleeding in me. I speak not out of weak surmises but from proof as strong as my grief and as certain as I expect my revenge. That part thou, Pisanio, must act for me, if thy faith be not tainted with the breach of hers. Let thine own hands take away her life. I shall give thee opportunity at Milford Haven—she hath my letter for the purpose—where, if thou fear to strike and to make me certain it is done, thou art the pander to her dishonor and equally to me disloyal.

Pisanio:[aside] 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 looked’st like a villain. Now methinks Thy favor’s good enough. Some jay of Italy, Whose mother was her painting, hath betrayed him. Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion, And, for I am richer than to hang by th’ walls, I must be ripped. 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 villainy, 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 fail.—Come, fellow, be thou honest; Do thou thy master’s bidding. When thou seest him, A little witness my obedience. Look, I draw the sword myself. [She draws Pisanio’s sword from its scabbard and hands it to him.] 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:[throwing down the sword] 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 defense— Obedient as the scabbard. What is here? [She takes papers from her bodice.] The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus, All turned to heresy? Away, away! [She throws away the letters.] Corrupters of my faith, you shall no more Be stomachers to my heart. Thus may poor fools Believe false teachers. Though those that are betrayed Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor Stands in worse case of woe. And thou, Posthumus, 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 panged 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 eyeballs out first.

Imogen:Wherefore then Didst undertake it? Why hast thou abused So many miles with a pretense? This place? Mine action and thine own? Our horses’ labor? The time inviting thee? The perturbed 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, Th’ elected deer before thee?

Pisanio:But to win time To lose so bad employment, in the which I have considered 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 cursèd injury.

Imogen:Some Roman courtesan?

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 missed at court, And that will well confirm it.

Imogen:Why, good fellow, What shall I do the while? Where bide? How live? Or in my life what comfort when I am Dead to my husband?

Pisanio:If you’ll back to th’ 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’ th’ 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. Th’ ambassador, Lucius the Roman, comes to Milford Haven Tomorrow. Now, if you could wear a mind Dark as your fortune is, and but disguise That which t’ 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 it pretty self—into a waggish courage, Ready in gibes, quick-answered, 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 laborsome 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. Forethinking this, I have already fit— ’Tis in my cloakbag—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 will make him know, If that his head have ear in music—doubtless With joy he will embrace you, for he’s honorable And, doubling that, most holy. Your means abroad: You have me, rich, and I will never fail Beginning nor supplyment.

Imogen:[taking the cloakbag] Thou art all the comfort The gods will diet me with. Prithee, away. There’s more to be considered, 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 missed, I be suspected of Your carriage from the court. My noble mistress, Here is a box. I had it from the Queen. [He hands her the box.] What’s in ’t is precious. If you are sick at sea Or stomach-qualmed 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.

They exit.

Scene 5

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 you 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 overland to Milford Haven.— Madam, all joy befall your Grace—and you.

Cymbeline:[to Lords] My lords, you are appointed for that office. The due of honor in no point omit.— So, farewell, noble Lucius.

Caius Lucius:[to Cloten] 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 crossed the Severn. Happiness!

Exit Lucius and Lords.

Cymbeline’s Queen:He goes hence frowning, but it honors 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.

Cymbeline’s Queen:’Tis not sleepy business, But must be looked 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 appeared Before the Roman, nor to us hath tendered 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.

An Attendant exits.

Cymbeline’s 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.

Enter Attendant.

Cymbeline:Where is she, sir? How Can her contempt be answered?

Attendant:Please you, sir, Her chambers are all locked, and there’s no answer That will be given to th’ loud’st noise we make.

Cymbeline’s Queen:My lord, when last I went to visit her, She prayed me to excuse her keeping close; Whereto constrained by her infirmity, She should that duty leave unpaid to you Which daily she was bound to proffer. This She wished me to make known, but our great court Made me to blame in memory.

Cymbeline:Her doors locked? Not seen of late? Grant, heavens, that which I Fear prove false!

He exits with Attendant.

Cymbeline’s Queen:Son, I say, follow the King.

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

Cymbeline’s Queen:Go, look after. [Cloten exits.] [Aside.] 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, winged with fervor of her love, she’s flown To her desired Posthumus. Gone she is To death or to dishonor, and my end Can make good use of either. She being down, I have the placing of the British crown. [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.

Cymbeline’s Queen:[aside] All the better. May This night forestall him of the coming day!

Queen exits, with Attendants.

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 favors 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.

He draws his sword.

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 farther 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.

He gives Cloten a paper.

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 travail, 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 villainy 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. [Gives him money.] 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 first service. Go.

Pisanio:I shall, my lord.

He exits.

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 valor, 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. [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.

He exits.

Pisanio:Thou bidd’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 crossed with slowness. Labor be his meed.

He exits.

Scene 6

Enter Imogen alone, dressed as a boy, Fidele.

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 showed 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 fullness Is sorer than to lie for need, and falsehood Is worse in kings than beggars. My dear lord, Thou art one o’ th’ 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 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 anything that’s civil, speak; if savage, Take or lend. Ho!—No answer? Then I’ll enter. Best draw my sword; an if mine enemy But fear the sword like me, he’ll scarcely look on ’t. [She draws her sword.] Such a foe, good heavens!

She exits, as into the cave.

Enter Belarius as Morgan, Guiderius as Polydor, and Arviragus as Cadwal.

Belarius:[as Morgan] You, Polydor, 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 savory. 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:[as Polydor] I am throughly weary.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] I am weak with toil, yet strong in appetite.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] There is cold meat i’ th’ cave. We’ll browse on that Whilst what we have killed be cooked.

Belarius:[as Morgan, looking into the cave] Stay, come not in! But that it eats our victuals, I should think Here were a fairy.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] What’s the matter, sir?

Belarius:[as Morgan] By Jupiter, an angel! Or, if not, An earthly paragon. Behold divineness No elder than a boy.

Enter Imogen as Fidele.

Imogen:[as Fidele] Good masters, harm me not. Before I entered here, I called, and thought To have begged or bought what I have took. Good troth, I have stol’n naught, nor would not, though I had found Gold strewed i’ th’ floor. Here’s money for my meat. [She offers money.] I would have left it on the board so soon As I had made my meal, and parted With prayers for the provider.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Money, youth?

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] All gold and silver rather turn to dirt, As ’tis no better reckoned but of those Who worship dirty gods.

Imogen:[as Fidele] I see you’re angry. Know, if you kill me for my fault, I should Have died had I not made it.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Whither bound?

Imogen:[as Fidele] To Milford Haven.

Belarius:[as Morgan] What’s your name?

Imogen:[as Fidele] Fidele, sir. I have a kinsman who Is bound for Italy. He embarked at Milford, To whom being going, almost spent with hunger, I am fall’n in this offense.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Prithee, fair youth, Think us no churls, nor measure our good minds By this rude place we live in. Well encountered! ’Tis almost night; you shall have better cheer Ere you depart, and thanks to stay and eat it.— Boys, bid him welcome.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Were you a woman, youth, I should woo hard but be your groom in honesty, Ay, bid for you as I do buy.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] 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:[as Fidele] ’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:[as Morgan] He wrings at some distress.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Would I could free ’t!

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Or I, whate’er it be, What pain it cost, what danger. Gods!

Belarius:[as Morgan] Hark, boys.

They talk aside.

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

Belarius:[as Morgan] It shall be so. Boys, we’ll go dress our hunt.—Fair youth, come in. Discourse is heavy, fasting. When we have supped, We’ll mannerly demand thee of thy story So far as thou wilt speak it.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Pray, draw near.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] The night to th’ owl and morn to th’ lark less welcome.

Imogen:[as Fidele] Thanks, sir.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] I pray, draw near.

They exit.

Scene 7

Enter two Roman 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 proconsul; and to you the tribunes For this immediate levy, he commends His absolute commission. Long live Caesar!

Tribune:Is Lucius general of the forces?

Second Senator:Ay.

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.

Tribune:We will discharge our duty.

They exit.

Act 4

Scene 1

Enter Cloten alone, dressed in Posthumus’s garments.

Cloten:I am near to th’ place where they should meet, if Pisanio have mapped it truly. How fit his garments serve me! Why should his mistress, who was made by him that made the tailor, not be fit too? The rather, saving reverence of the word, for ’tis said a woman’s fitness comes by fits. Therein I must play the workman. I dare speak it to myself, for it is not vainglory for a man and his glass to confer in his own chamber. I mean, the lines of my body are as well drawn as his, no less young, more strong; not beneath him in fortunes, beyond him in the advantage of the time, above him in birth, alike conversant in general services, and more remarkable in single oppositions. Yet this imperceiverant thing loves him in my despite. What mortality is! Posthumus, thy head, which now is growing upon thy shoulders, shall within this hour be off, thy mistress enforced, thy garments cut to pieces before thy face; and all this done, spurn her home to her father, who may haply be a little angry or my so rough usage. But my mother, having power of his testiness, shall turn all into my commendations. My horse is tied up safe. Out, sword, and to a sore purpose. Fortune, put them into my hand! This is the very description of their meeting place, and the fellow dares not deceive me.

He draws his sword and exits.

Scene 2

Enter Belarius as Morgan, Guiderius as Polydor, Arviragus as Cadwal, and Imogen as Fidele, from the cave.

Belarius:[as Morgan, to Fidele] You are not well. Remain here in the cave. We’ll come to you after hunting.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal, to Fidele] Brother, stay here. Are we not brothers?

Imogen:[as Fidele] So man and man should be, But clay and clay differs in dignity, Whose dust is both alike. I am very sick.

Guiderius:[as Polydor, to Morgan and Cadwal] Go you to hunting. I’ll abide with him.

Imogen:[as Fidele] So sick I am not, yet I am not well; But not so citizen a wanton as To seem to die ere sick. So please you, leave me. Stick to your journal course. The breach of custom Is breach of all. I am ill, but your being by me Cannot amend me. Society is no comfort To one not sociable. I am not very sick, Since I can reason of it. Pray you trust me here— I’ll rob none but myself—and let me die, Stealing so poorly.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] I love thee—I have spoke it— How much the quantity, the weight as much As I do love my father.

Belarius:[as Morgan] What? How, how?

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] If it be sin to say so, sir, I yoke me In my good brother’s fault. I know not why I love this youth, and I have heard you say Love’s reason’s without reason. The bier at door, And a demand who is ’t shall die, I’d say "My father, not this youth."

Belarius:[aside] O, noble strain! O, worthiness of nature, breed of greatness! Cowards father cowards and base things sire base; Nature hath meal and bran, contempt and grace. I’m not their father, yet who this should be Doth miracle itself, loved before me.— ’Tis the ninth hour o’ th’ morn.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal, to Fidele] Brother, farewell.

Imogen:[as Fidele] I wish you sport.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] You health.—So please you, sir.

Imogen:[aside] These are kind creatures. Gods, what lies I have heard! Our courtiers say all’s savage but at court; Experience, O, thou disprov’st report! Th’ imperious seas breeds monsters; for the dish Poor tributary rivers as sweet fish. I am sick still, heart-sick. Pisanio, I’ll now taste of thy drug.

She swallows the drug.

Guiderius:[as Polydor, to Morgan and Cadwal] I could not stir him. He said he was gentle but unfortunate, Dishonestly afflicted but yet honest.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Thus did he answer me, yet said hereafter I might know more.

Belarius:[as Morgan] To th’ field, to th’ field! [To Fidele.] We’ll leave you for this time. Go in and rest.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] We’ll not be long away.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Pray, be not sick, For you must be our huswife.

Imogen:[as Fidele] Well or ill, I am bound to you.

Belarius:[as Morgan] And shalt be ever. [Imogen exits as into the cave.] This youth, howe’er distressed, appears he hath had Good ancestors.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] How angel-like he sings!

Guiderius:[as Polydor] But his neat cookery! He cut our roots in characters And sauced our broths as Juno had been sick And he her dieter.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Nobly he yokes A smiling with a sigh, as if the sigh Was that it was for not being such a smile, The smile mocking the sigh that it would fly From so divine a temple to commix With winds that sailors rail at.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] I do note That grief and patience, rooted in them both, Mingle their spurs together.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Grow, patience, And let the stinking elder, grief, untwine His perishing root with the increasing vine!

Belarius:[as Morgan] It is great morning. Come, away. Who’s there?

Enter Cloten.

Cloten:[to himself] I cannot find those runagates. That villain Hath mocked me. I am faint.

Belarius:[as Morgan, to Polydor and Cadwal] "Those runagates"? Means he not us? I partly know him. ’Tis Cloten, the son o’ th’ Queen. I fear some ambush. I saw him not these many years, and yet I know ’tis he. We are held as outlaws. Hence.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] He is but one. You and my brother search What companies are near. Pray you, away. Let me alone with him.

Belarius and Arviragus exit.

Cloten:Soft, what are you That fly me thus? Some villain mountaineers? I have heard of such.—What slave art thou?

Guiderius:[as Polydor] A thing More slavish did I ne’er than answering A slave without a knock.

Cloten:Thou art a robber, A lawbreaker, a villain. Yield thee, thief.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] To who? To thee? What art thou? Have not I An arm as big as thine? A heart as big? Thy words, I grant, are bigger, for I wear not My dagger in my mouth. Say what thou art, Why I should yield to thee.

Cloten:Thou villain base, Know’st me not by my clothes?

Guiderius:[as Polydor] No, nor thy tailor, rascal. Who is thy grandfather? He made those clothes, Which, as it seems, make thee.

Cloten:Thou precious varlet, My tailor made them not.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Hence then, and thank The man that gave them thee. Thou art some fool. I am loath to beat thee.

Cloten:Thou injurious thief, Hear but my name, and tremble.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] What’s thy name?

Cloten:Cloten, thou villain.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Cloten, thou double villain, be thy name, I cannot tremble at it. Were it Toad, or Adder, Spider, ’Twould move me sooner.

Cloten:To thy further fear, Nay, to thy mere confusion, thou shalt know I am son to th’ Queen.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] I am sorry for ’t, not seeming So worthy as thy birth.

Cloten:Art not afeard?

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Those that I reverence, those I fear—the wise; At fools I laugh, not fear them.

Cloten:Die the death! When I have slain thee with my proper hand, I’ll follow those that even now fled hence And on the gates of Lud’s Town set your heads. Yield, rustic mountaineer!

They fight and exit.

Enter Belarius as Morgan and Arviragus as Cadwal.

Belarius:[as Morgan] No company’s abroad?

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] None in the world. You did mistake him sure.

Belarius:[as Morgan] I cannot tell. Long is it since I saw him, But time hath nothing blurred those lines of favor Which then he wore. The snatches in his voice And burst of speaking were as his. I am absolute ’Twas very Cloten.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] In this place we left them. I wish my brother make good time with him, You say he is so fell.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Being scarce made up, I mean to man, he had not apprehension Of roaring terrors; for defect of judgment Is oft the cause of fear. [Enter Guiderius as Polydor, carrying Cloten’s head.] But see, thy brother.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] This Cloten was a fool, an empty purse; There was no money in ’t. Not Hercules Could have knocked out his brains, for he had none. Yet I not doing this, the fool had borne My head as I do his.

Belarius:[as Morgan] What hast thou done?

Guiderius:[as Polydor] I am perfect what: cut off one Cloten’s head, Son to the Queen, after his own report, Who called me traitor mountaineer, and swore With his own single hand he’d take us in, Displace our heads where, thank the gods, they grow, And set them on Lud’s Town.

Belarius:[as Morgan] We are all undone.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Why, worthy father, what have we to lose But that he swore to take, our lives? The law Protects not us. Then why should we be tender To let an arrogant piece of flesh threat us, Play judge and executioner all himself, For we do fear the law? What company Discover you abroad?

Belarius:[as Morgan] No single soul Can we set eye on, but in all safe reason He must have some attendants. Though his humor Was nothing but mutation—ay, and that From one bad thing to worse—not frenzy, Not absolute madness could so far have raved To bring him here alone. Although perhaps It may be heard at court that such as we Cave here, hunt here, are outlaws, and in time May make some stronger head, the which he hearing— As it is like him—might break out and swear He’d fetch us in, yet is ’t not probable To come alone, either he so undertaking Or they so suffering. Then on good ground we fear, If we do fear this body hath a tail More perilous than the head.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Let ord’nance Come as the gods foresay it. Howsoe’er, My brother hath done well.

Belarius:[as Morgan] I had no mind To hunt this day. The boy Fidele’s sickness Did make my way long forth.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] With his own sword, Which he did wave against my throat, I have ta’en His head from him. I’ll throw ’t into the creek Behind our rock, and let it to the sea And tell the fishes he’s the Queen’s son, Cloten. That’s all I reck.

He exits.

Belarius:[as Morgan] I fear ’twill be revenged. Would, Polydor, thou hadst not done ’t, though valor Becomes thee well enough.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Would I had done ’t, So the revenge alone pursued me. Polydor, I love thee brotherly, but envy much Thou hast robbed me of this deed. I would revenges That possible strength might meet would seek us through And put us to our answer.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Well, ’tis done. We’ll hunt no more today, nor seek for danger Where there’s no profit. I prithee, to our rock. You and Fidele play the cooks. I’ll stay Till hasty Polydor return, and bring him To dinner presently.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Poor sick Fidele. I’ll willingly to him. To gain his color I’d let a parish of such Clotens blood, And praise myself for charity.

He exits.

Belarius:O thou goddess, Thou divine Nature, thou thyself thou blazon’st In these two princely boys! They are as gentle As zephyrs blowing below the violet, Not wagging his sweet head; and yet as rough, Their royal blood enchafed, as the rud’st wind That by the top doth take the mountain pine And make him stoop to th’ vale. ’Tis wonder That an invisible instinct should frame them To royalty unlearned, honor untaught, Civility not seen from other, valor That wildly grows in them but yields a crop As if it had been sowed. Yet still it’s strange What Cloten’s being here to us portends, Or what his death will bring us.

Enter Guiderius as Polydor.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Where’s my brother? I have sent Cloten’s clotpole down the stream In embassy to his mother. His body’s hostage For his return.

Solemn music.

Belarius:[as Morgan] My ingenious instrument! Hark, Polydor, it sounds! But what occasion Hath Cadwal now to give it motion? Hark.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Is he at home?

Belarius:[as Morgan] He went hence even now.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] What does he mean? Since death of my dear’st mother It did not speak before. All solemn things Should answer solemn accidents. The matter? Triumphs for nothing and lamenting toys Is jollity for apes and grief for boys. Is Cadwal mad?

Enter Arviragus as Cadwal, with Imogen as dead, bearing her in his arms.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Look, here he comes, And brings the dire occasion in his arms Of what we blame him for.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] The bird is dead That we have made so much on. I had rather Have skipped from sixteen years of age to sixty, To have turned my leaping time into a crutch, Than have seen this.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] O sweetest, fairest lily! My brother wears thee not the one half so well As when thou grew’st thyself.

Belarius:[as Morgan] O melancholy, Whoever yet could sound thy bottom, find The ooze, to show what coast thy sluggish crare Might eas’liest harbor in?—Thou blessèd thing, Jove knows what man thou mightst have made; but I, Thou died’st, a most rare boy, of melancholy.— How found you him?

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Stark, as you see; Thus smiling, as some fly had tickled slumber, Not as Death’s dart being laughed at; his right cheek Reposing on a cushion.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Where?

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] O’ th’ floor, His arms thus leagued. I thought he slept, and put My clouted brogues from off my feet, whose rudeness Answered my steps too loud.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Why, he but sleeps. If he be gone, he’ll make his grave a bed; With female fairies will his tomb be haunted— And worms will not come to thee.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] With fairest flowers, Whilst summer lasts and I live here, Fidele, I’ll sweeten thy sad grave. Thou shalt not lack The flower that’s like thy face, pale primrose; nor The azured harebell, like thy veins; no, nor The leaf of eglantine whom, not to slander, Out-sweetened not thy breath. The ruddock would With charitable bill—O bill, sore shaming Those rich-left heirs that let their fathers lie Without a monument—bring thee all this, Yea, and furred moss besides, when flowers are none To winter-ground thy corse.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Prithee, have done, And do not play in wench-like words with that Which is so serious. Let us bury him And not protract with admiration what Is now due debt. To th’ grave.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Say, where shall ’s lay him?

Guiderius:[as Polydor] By good Euriphile, our mother.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Be ’t so. And let us, Polydor, though now our voices Have got the mannish crack, sing him to th’ ground As once to our mother; use like note and words, Save that "Euriphile" must be "Fidele."

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Cadwal, I cannot sing. I’ll weep, and word it with thee, For notes of sorrow, out of tune, are worse Than priests and fanes that lie.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] We’ll speak it then.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Great griefs, I see, med’cine the less, for Cloten Is quite forgot. He was a queen’s son, boys, And though he came our enemy, remember He was paid for that. Though mean and mighty, Rotting together, have one dust, yet reverence, That angel of the world, doth make distinction Of place ’tween high and low. Our foe was princely, And though you took his life as being our foe, Yet bury him as a prince.

Guiderius:[as Polydor, to Morgan] Pray you fetch him hither. Thersites’ body is as good as Ajax’ When neither are alive.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal, to Morgan] If you’ll go fetch him, We’ll say our song the whilst.—Brother, begin.

Belarius exits.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head to th’ east; My father hath a reason for ’t.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] ’Tis true.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Come on then, and remove him.

They move Imogen’s body.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] So, begin.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Fear no more the heat o’ th’ sun, Nor the furious winter’s rages; Thou thy worldly task hast done, Home art gone and ta’en thy wages. Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Fear no more the frown o’ th’ great; Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke. Care no more to clothe and eat; To thee the reed is as the oak. The scepter, learning, physic must All follow this and come to dust.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Fear no more the lightning flash.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Nor th’ all-dreaded thunderstone.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Fear not slander, censure rash;

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Thou hast finished joy and moan.

Guiderius, Arviragus:All lovers young, all lovers must Consign to thee and come to dust.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] No exorciser harm thee,

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Nor no witchcraft charm thee.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Ghost unlaid forbear thee.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] Nothing ill come near thee.

Guiderius, Arviragus:Quiet consummation have, And renownèd be thy grave.

Enter Belarius as Morgan, with the body of Cloten.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] We have done our obsequies. Come, lay him down.

Cloten’s body is placed by Imogen’s.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Here’s a few flowers, but ’bout midnight more. The herbs that have on them cold dew o’ th’ night Are strewings fitt’st for graves. Upon their faces.— You were as flowers, now withered. Even so These herblets shall, which we upon you strew.— Come on, away; apart upon our knees. The ground that gave them first has them again. Their pleasures here are past; so is their pain.

They exit.

Imogen awakes.

Imogen:Yes, sir, to Milford Haven. Which is the way? I thank you. By yond bush? Pray, how far thither? Ods pittikins, can it be six mile yet? I have gone all night. Faith, I’ll lie down and sleep. [She sees Cloten’s headless body.] But soft! No bedfellow? O gods and goddesses! These flowers are like the pleasures of the world, This bloody man the care on ’t. I hope I dream, For so I thought I was a cave-keeper And cook to honest creatures. But ’tis not so. ’Twas but a bolt of nothing, shot at nothing, Which the brain makes of fumes. Our very eyes Are sometimes like our judgments, blind. Good faith, I tremble still with fear; but if there be Yet left in heaven as small a drop of pity As a wren’s eye, feared gods, a part of it! The dream’s here still. Even when I wake it is Without me as within me, not imagined, felt. A headless man? The garments of Posthumus? I know the shape of ’s leg. This is his hand, His foot Mercurial, his Martial thigh, The brawns of Hercules; but his Jovial face— Murder in heaven! How? ’Tis gone. Pisanio, All curses madded Hecuba gave the Greeks, And mine to boot, be darted on thee! Thou, Conspired with that irregulous devil Cloten, Hath here cut off my lord. To write and read Be henceforth treacherous. Damned Pisanio Hath with his forgèd letters—damned Pisanio— From this most bravest vessel of the world Struck the maintop. O Posthumus, alas, Where is thy head? Where’s that? Ay me, where’s that? Pisanio might have killed thee at the heart And left this head on. How should this be? Pisanio? ’Tis he and Cloten. Malice and lucre in them Have laid this woe here. O, ’tis pregnant, pregnant! The drug he gave me, which he said was precious And cordial to me, have I not found it Murd’rous to th’ senses? That confirms it home. This is Pisanio’s deed, and Cloten. O, Give color to my pale cheek with thy blood, That we the horrider may seem to those Which chance to find us. O my lord! My lord!

Enter Lucius, Captains, Soldiers, and a Soothsayer.

Captain:To them the legions garrisoned in Gallia, After your will, have crossed the sea, attending You here at Milford Haven with your ships. They are here in readiness.

Caius Lucius:But what from Rome?

Captain:The Senate hath stirred up the confiners And gentlemen of Italy, most willing spirits That promise noble service, and they come Under the conduct of bold Iachimo, Siena’s brother.

Caius Lucius:When expect you them?

Captain:With the next benefit o’ th’ wind.

Caius Lucius:This forwardness Makes our hopes fair. Command our present numbers Be mustered; bid the Captains look to ’t.—Now, sir, What have you dreamed of late of this war’s purpose?

A Soothsayer:Last night the very gods showed me a vision— I fast and prayed for their intelligence—thus: I saw Jove’s bird, the Roman eagle, winged From the spongy south to this part of the west, There vanished in the sunbeams, which portends— Unless my sins abuse my divination— Success to th’ Roman host.

Caius Lucius:Dream often so, And never false.—Soft, ho, what trunk is here Without his top? The ruin speaks that sometime It was a worthy building. How, a page? Or dead or sleeping on him? But dead rather, For nature doth abhor to make his bed With the defunct or sleep upon the dead. Let’s see the boy’s face.

Captain:He’s alive, my lord.

Caius Lucius:He’ll then instruct us of this body.—Young one, Inform us of thy fortunes, for it seems They crave to be demanded. Who is this Thou mak’st thy bloody pillow? Or who was he That, otherwise than noble nature did, Hath altered that good picture? What’s thy interest In this sad wrack? How came ’t? Who is ’t? What art thou?

Imogen:[as Fidele] I am nothing; or if not, Nothing to be were better. This was my master, A very valiant Briton, and a good, That here by mountaineers lies slain. Alas, There is no more such masters. I may wander From east to occident, cry out for service, Try many, all good, serve truly, never Find such another master.

Caius Lucius:’Lack, good youth, Thou mov’st no less with thy complaining than Thy master in bleeding. Say his name, good friend.

Imogen:[as Fidele] Richard du Champ. [Aside.] If I do lie and do No harm by it, though the gods hear, I hope They’ll pardon it.—Say you, sir?

Caius Lucius:Thy name?

Imogen:[as Fidele] Fidele, sir.

Caius Lucius:Thou dost approve thyself the very same; Thy name well fits thy faith, thy faith thy name. Wilt take thy chance with me? I will not say Thou shalt be so well mastered, but be sure No less beloved. The Roman Emperor’s letters Sent by a consul to me should not sooner Than thine own worth prefer thee. Go with me.

Imogen:[as Fidele] I’ll follow, sir. But first, an ’t please the gods, I’ll hide my master from the flies as deep As these poor pickaxes can dig; and when With wild-wood leaves and weeds I ha’ strewed his grave And on it said a century of prayers, Such as I can, twice o’er, I’ll weep and sigh, And leaving so his service, follow you, So please you entertain me.

Caius Lucius:Ay, good youth, And rather father thee than master thee.—My friends, The boy hath taught us manly duties. Let us Find out the prettiest daisied plot we can, And make him with our pikes and partisans A grave. Come, arm him.—Boy, he’s preferred By thee to us, and he shall be interred As soldiers can. Be cheerful; wipe thine eyes. Some falls are means the happier to arise.

They exit, the Soldiers carrying Cloten’s body.

Scene 3

Enter Cymbeline, Lords, Pisanio, and Attendants.

Cymbeline:Again, and bring me word how ’tis with her. [An Attendant exits.] A fever, with the absence of her son; A madness, of which her life’s in danger. Heavens, How deeply you at once do touch me! Imogen, The great part of my comfort, gone; my queen Upon a desperate bed, and in a time When fearful wars point at me; her son gone, So needful for this present. It strikes me past The hope of comfort.—But for thee, fellow, Who needs must know of her departure and Dost seem so ignorant, we’ll enforce it from thee By a sharp torture.

Pisanio:Sir, my life is yours. I humbly set it at your will. But for my mistress, I nothing know where she remains, why gone, Nor when she purposes return. Beseech your Highness, Hold me your loyal servant.

Lord:Good my liege, The day that she was missing, he was here. I dare be bound he’s true and shall perform All parts of his subjection loyally. For Cloten, There wants no diligence in seeking him, And will no doubt be found.

Cymbeline:The time is troublesome. [To Pisanio.] We’ll slip you for a season, but our jealousy Does yet depend.

Lord:So please your Majesty, The Roman legions, all from Gallia drawn, Are landed on your coast with a supply Of Roman gentlemen by the Senate sent.

Cymbeline:Now for the counsel of my son and queen! I am amazed with matter.

Lord:Good my liege, Your preparation can affront no less Than what you hear of. Come more, for more you’re ready. The want is but to put those powers in motion That long to move.

Cymbeline:I thank you. Let’s withdraw, And meet the time as it seeks us. We fear not What can from Italy annoy us, but We grieve at chances here. Away.

They exit. Pisanio remains.

Pisanio:I heard no letter from my master since I wrote him Imogen was slain. ’Tis strange. Nor hear I from my mistress, who did promise To yield me often tidings. Neither know I What is betid to Cloten, but remain Perplexed in all. The heavens still must work. Wherein I am false I am honest; not true, to be true. These present wars shall find I love my country, Even to the note o’ th’ King, or I’ll fall in them. All other doubts, by time let them be cleared. Fortune brings in some boats that are not steered.

He exits.

Scene 4

Enter Belarius as Morgan, Guiderius as Polydor, and Arviragus as Cadwal.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] The noise is round about us.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Let us from it.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] What pleasure, sir, find we in life, to lock it From action and adventure?

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Nay, what hope Have we in hiding us? This way the Romans Must or for Britons slay us or receive us For barbarous and unnatural revolts During their use, and slay us after.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Sons, We’ll higher to the mountains, there secure us. To the King’s party there’s no going. Newness Of Cloten’s death—we being not known, not mustered Among the bands—may drive us to a render Where we have lived, and so extort from ’s that Which we have done, whose answer would be death Drawn on with torture.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] This is, sir, a doubt In such a time nothing becoming you Nor satisfying us.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] It is not likely That when they hear the Roman horses neigh, Behold their quartered fires, have both their eyes And ears so cloyed importantly as now, That they will waste their time upon our note, To know from whence we are.

Belarius:[as Morgan] O, I am known Of many in the army. Many years, Though Cloten then but young, you see not wore him From my remembrance. And besides, the King Hath not deserved my service nor your loves, Who find in my exile the want of breeding, The certainty of this hard life, aye hopeless To have the courtesy your cradle promised, But to be still hot summer’s tanlings and The shrinking slaves of winter.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Than be so Better to cease to be. Pray, sir, to th’ army. I and my brother are not known; yourself So out of thought, and thereto so o’ergrown, Cannot be questioned.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] By this sun that shines, I’ll thither. What thing is ’t that I never Did see man die, scarce ever looked on blood But that of coward hares, hot goats, and venison! Never bestrid a horse save one that had A rider like myself, who ne’er wore rowel Nor iron on his heel! I am ashamed To look upon the holy sun, to have The benefit of his blest beams, remaining So long a poor unknown.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] By heavens, I’ll go! If you will bless me, sir, and give me leave, I’ll take the better care, but if you will not, The hazard therefore due fall on me by The hands of Romans.

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] So say I. Amen.

Belarius:[as Morgan] No reason I—since of your lives you set So slight a valuation—should reserve My cracked one to more care. Have with you, boys! If in your country wars you chance to die, That is my bed, too, lads, and there I’ll lie. Lead, lead. [Aside.] The time seems long; their blood thinks scorn Till it fly out and show them princes born.

They exit.

Act 5

Scene 1

Enter Posthumus alone, wearing Roman garments and carrying a bloody cloth.

Posthumus Leonatus:Yea, bloody cloth, I’ll keep thee, for I wished Thou shouldst be colored 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 th’ Italian gentry, and to fight Against my lady’s kingdom. ’Tis enough That, Britain, I have killed 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 valor in me than my habits show. Gods, put the strength o’ th’ Leonati in me. To shame the guise o’ th’ world, I will begin The fashion: less without and more within.

He exits.

Scene 2

Enter Lucius, Iachimo, and the Roman army at one door, and the Briton army at another, Leonatus Posthumus following like a poor soldier. They march over and go out. Then enter again, in skirmish, Iachimo and Posthumus. 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 honors, 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.

He exits.

The battle continues. The Britons fly; Cymbeline is taken. Then enter, to his rescue, Belarius as Morgan, Guiderius as Polydor, and Arviragus as Cadwal.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Stand, stand! We have th’ advantage of the ground. The lane is guarded. Nothing routs us but The villainy of our fears.

Guiderius:Stand, stand, and fight!

Enter Posthumus, and seconds the Britons. They rescue Cymbeline and exit. Then enter Lucius, Iachimo, and Imogen as Fidele.

Caius Lucius:[to Fidele] Away, boy, from the troops, and save thyself, For friends kill friends, and the disorder’s such As war were hoodwinked.

Iachimo:’Tis their fresh supplies.

Caius Lucius:It is a day turned strangely. Or betimes Let’s reinforce, or fly.

They exit.

Scene 3

Enter Posthumus and a Briton Lord.

A Briton Lord:Cam’st thou from where they made the stand?

Posthumus Leonatus:I did, Though you, it seems, come from the fliers.

A Briton Lord:Ay.

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 strait lane; the enemy full-hearted, Lolling the tongue with slaught’ring, having work More plentiful than tools to do ’t, struck down Some mortally, some slightly touched, some falling Merely through fear, that the strait pass was dammed With dead men hurt behind and cowards living To die with lengthened shame.

A Briton Lord:Where was this lane?

Posthumus Leonatus:Close by the battle, ditched, and walled 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 turned A distaff to a lance, gilded pale looks, Part shame, part spirit renewed; that some, turned coward But by example—O, a sin in war, Damned in the first beginners!—gan to look The way that they did and to grin like lions Upon the pikes o’ th’ hunters. Then began A stop i’ th’ chaser, a retire; anon A rout, confusion thick. Forthwith they fly Chickens the way which they stooped eagles; slaves The strides they victors made; and now our cowards, Like fragments in hard voyages, became The life o’ th’ need. Having found the backdoor open Of the unguarded hearts, heavens, how they wound! Some slain before, some dying, some their friends O’erborne i’ th’ former wave, ten chased by one, Are now each one the slaughterman of twenty. Those that would die or ere resist are grown The mortal bugs o’ th’ field.

A Briton 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 mock’ry? Here is one: "Two boys, an old man twice a boy, a lane, Preserved the Britons, was the Romans’ bane."

A Briton 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.

A Briton Lord:Farewell. You’re angry.

He exits.

Posthumus Leonatus:Still going? This is a lord! O noble misery, To be i’ th’ field and ask "What news?" of me! Today how many would have given their honors To have saved their carcasses, took heel to do ’t, And yet died too! I, in mine own woe charmed, 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’ th’ war. Well, I will find him; For being now a favorer to the Briton, No more a Briton. [(He removes his peasant costume.)] 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 th’ 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 Briton 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 th’ 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 answered him.

Second Captain:Lay hands on him. A dog, A leg of Rome shall not return to tell What crows have pecked them here. He brags his service As if he were of note. Bring him to th’ King.

Enter Cymbeline, Attendants, Belarius as Morgan, Guiderius as Polydor, Arviragus as Cadwal, Pisanio, Soldiers, and Roman captives. The Captains present Posthumus to Cymbeline, who delivers him over to a Jailer.

They exit.

Scene 4

Enter Posthumus in chains, and two Jailers.

Jailer:You shall not now be stol’n; you have locks upon you. So graze as you find pasture.

Second Jailer:Ay, or a stomach.

Jailers exit.

Posthumus Leonatus:Most welcome, bondage, for thou art a way, I think, to liberty. Yet am I better Than one that’s sick o’ th’ gout, since he had rather Groan so in perpetuity than be cured By th’ sure physician, Death, who is the key T’ unbar these locks. My conscience, thou art fettered More than my shanks and wrists. You good gods, give me The penitent instrument to pick that bolt, Then free forever. 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 constrained. 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 coined 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.

He lies down and sleeps.

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

The Ghost of 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 stayed, 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.

The Ghost of Posthumus’s Mother:Lucina lent not me her aid, But took me in my throes, That from me was Posthumus ripped, Came crying ’mongst his foes, A thing of pity.

The Ghost of Sicilius Leonatus:Great Nature, like his ancestry, Molded the stuff so fair That he deserved the praise o’ th’ 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?

The Ghost of Posthumus’s Mother:With marriage wherefore was he mocked, To be exiled and thrown From Leonati seat, and cast From her, his dearest one, Sweet Imogen?

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

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 honor to maintain.

First Brother:Like hardiment Posthumus hath To Cymbeline performed. Then, Jupiter, thou king of gods, Why hast thou thus adjourned The graces for his merits due, Being all to dolors turned?

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

The Ghost of Posthumus’s Mother:Since, Jupiter, our son is good, Take off his miseries.

The Ghost of Sicilius Leonatus:Peep through thy marble mansion. Help, Or we poor ghosts will cry To th’ 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 Ghosts 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 oppressed. No care of yours it is; you know ’tis ours. Whom best I love I cross, to make my gift, The more delayed, delighted. Be content. Your low-laid son our godhead will uplift. His comforts thrive, his trials well are spent. Our Jovial star reigned 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. [He hands Sicilius a tablet.] This tablet lay upon his breast, wherein Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine. And so away. No farther with your din Express impatience, lest you stir up mine.— Mount, eagle, to my palace crystalline.


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

The Ghost of Sicilius Leonatus, The Ghost of Posthumus’s Mother, First Brother, Second Brother:Thanks, Jupiter.

The Ghost of Sicilius Leonatus:The marble pavement closes; he is entered His radiant roof. Away, and, to be blest, Let us with care perform his great behest.

He places the tablet on Posthumus’ breast. They 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’ favor dream as I have done, Wake, and find nothing. But, alas, I swerve. Many dream not to find, neither deserve, And yet are steeped in favors; so am I That have this golden chance and know not why. [Finding the tablet.] 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.)] Whenas 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.

Enter Jailer.

Jailer:Come, sir, are you ready for death?

Posthumus Leonatus:Over-roasted rather; ready long ago.

Jailer: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.

Jailer: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 faint 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. O, 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.

Jailer:Indeed, sir, he that sleeps feels not the toothache. 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.

Jailer: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 to 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.

Jailer: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.

Jailer:I’ll be hanged then.

He removes Posthumus’s chains.

Posthumus Leonatus:Thou shalt be then freer than a jailer. No bolts for the dead.

All but the Jailer exit.

Jailer: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 jailers and gallowses! I speak against my present profit, but my wish hath a preferment in ’t.

He exits.

Scene 5

Enter Cymbeline, Belarius as Morgan, Guiderius as Polydor, Arviragus as Cadwal, Pisanio, Attendants, and Lords.

Cymbeline:[to Morgan, Polydor, and Cadwal] 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 Stepped before targes of proof, cannot be found. He shall be happy that can find him, if Our grace can make him so.

Belarius:[as Morgan] I never saw Such noble fury in so poor a thing, Such precious deeds in one that promised naught But beggary and poor looks.

Cymbeline:No tidings of him?

Pisanio:He hath been searched among the dead and living, But no trace of him.

Cymbeline:[to Morgan, Polydor, and Cadwal] To my grief, I am The heir of his reward, 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:[as Morgan] 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. [They kneel. He taps their shoulders with his sword.] Arise my knights o’ th’ battle. I create you Companions to our person, and will fit you With dignities becoming your estates. [They rise.] [Enter Cornelius and Ladies.] There’s business in these faces. Why so sadly Greet you our victory? You look like Romans, And not o’ th’ 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 med’cine life may be prolonged, 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 confessed I will report, so please you. These her women Can trip me if I err, who with wet cheeks Were present when she finished.

Cymbeline:Prithee, say.

Cornelius:First, she confessed she never loved you, only Affected greatness got by you, not you; Married your royalty, was wife to your place, Abhorred 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, ling’ring, 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 th’ adoption of the crown; But failing of her end by his strange absence, Grew shameless desperate; opened, in despite Of heaven and men, her purposes; repented The evils she hatched were not effected; so Despairing died.

Cymbeline:Heard you all this, her women?

Second 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, Soothsayer, and other Roman prisoners, Posthumus Leonatus behind, and Imogen as Fidele, with Briton Soldiers as guards.] Thou com’st 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 threatened Our prisoners with the sword. But since the gods Will have it thus, that nothing but our lives May be called 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 ransomed. Never master had A page so kind, so duteous, diligent, So tender over his occasions, true, So feat, so nurselike. Let his virtue join With my request, which I’ll 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 favor is familiar to me.—Boy, Thou hast looked 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:[as Fidele] I humbly thank your Highness.

Caius Lucius:I do not bid thee beg my life, good lad, And yet I know thou wilt.

Imogen:[as Fidele] 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 perplexed?

Imogen stares at Iachimo.

Cymbeline:What would’st 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:[as Fidele] He is a Roman, no more kin to me Than I to your Highness, who, being born your vassal, Am something nearer.

Cymbeline:Wherefore ey’st him so?

Imogen:[as Fidele] 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:[as Fidele] Fidele, sir.

Cymbeline:Thou ’rt my good youth, my page. I’ll be thy master. Walk with me. Speak freely.

Cymbeline and Imogen walk aside and talk.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Is not this boy revived from death?

Arviragus:[as Cadwal] One sand another Not more resembles that sweet rosy lad Who died, and was Fidele. What think you?

Guiderius:[as Polydor] The same dead thing alive.

Belarius:[as Morgan] 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:[as Polydor] But we see him dead.

Belarius:[as Morgan] 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:[to Imogen] 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 honor, bitter torture shall Winnow the truth from falsehood.—On. Speak to him.

Imogen:[as Fidele, pointing to Iachimo’s hand] 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 constrained to utter that Which torments me to conceal. By villainy 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 poisoned, 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 rar’st of good ones—sitting sadly, Hearing us praise our loves of Italy For beauty that made barren the swelled 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 cracked of kitchen trulls, or his description Proved us unspeaking sots.

Cymbeline:Nay, nay, to th’ 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 wagered with him Pieces of gold ’gainst this, which then he wore Upon his honored 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 honor 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 villainous. Being thus quenched Of hope, not longing, mine Italian brain Gan in your duller Britain operate Most vilely; for my vantage, excellent. And to be brief, my practice so prevailed That I returned with simular proof enough To make the noble Leonatus mad By wounding his belief in her renown With tokens thus and thus; averring 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 cracked, I having ta’en the forfeit. Whereupon— Methinks I see him now—

Posthumus Leonatus:[coming forward] Ay, so thou dost, Italian fiend.—Ay me, most credulous fool, Egregious murderer, thief, anything That’s due to all the villains past, in being, To come. O, give me cord, or knife, or poison, Some upright justicer.—Thou, king, send out For torturers ingenious. It is I That all th’ abhorrèd things o’ th’ Earth amend By being worse than they. I am Posthumus, That killed thy daughter—villainlike, 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 stones, cast mire upon me, set The dogs o’ th’ street to bay me. Every villain Be called Posthumus Leonatus, and Be villainy less than ’twas. O Imogen! My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen, Imogen, Imogen!

Imogen:[running to Posthumus] Peace, my lord! Hear, hear—

Posthumus Leonatus:Shall ’s have a play of this? Thou scornful page, There lie thy part.

He pushes her away; she falls.

Pisanio:O, gentlemen, help!— Mine and your mistress! O my lord Posthumus, You ne’er killed Imogen till now! Help, help! Mine honored lady—

Cymbeline:Does the world go round?

Posthumus Leonatus:How comes these staggers on me?

Pisanio:Wake, my mistress.

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

Pisanio:How fares my mistress?

Imogen:O, get thee from my sight! Thou gav’st me poison. Dangerous fellow, hence. Breathe not where princes are.

Cymbeline:The tune of Imogen!

Pisanio:Lady, the gods throw stones of sulfur 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 poisoned me.

Cornelius:O gods! [To Pisanio.] I left out one thing which the Queen confessed, 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, Cornelius?

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:[as Morgan, aside to Guiderius and Arviragus] My boys, There was our error.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] This is sure Fidele.

Imogen:[to Posthumus] Why did you throw your wedded lady from you? Think that you are upon a rock, and now Throw me again.

She embraces him.

Posthumus Leonatus:Hang there like fruit, my soul, Till the tree die.

Cymbeline:[to Imogen] How now, my flesh, my child? What, mak’st thou me a dullard in this act? Wilt thou not speak to me?

Imogen:[kneeling] Your blessing, sir.

Belarius:[as Morgan, aside to Guiderius and Arviragus] Though you did love this youth, I blame you not. You had a motive for ’t.

Cymbeline:[to Imogen] My tears that fall Prove holy water on thee. Imogen, Thy mother’s dead.

Imogen:I am sorry for ’t, my lord.

She rises.

Cymbeline:O, she was naught, and long of her it was That we meet here so strangely. But her son Is gone, we know not how nor where.

Pisanio:My lord, Now fear is from me, I’ll speak truth. Lord Cloten, Upon my lady’s missing, came to me With his sword drawn, foamed at the mouth, and swore, If I discovered not which way she was gone, It was my instant death. By accident, I had a feignèd 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 honor. What became of him I further know not.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] Let me end the story. I slew him there.

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

Guiderius:[as Polydor] I have spoke it, and I did it.

Cymbeline:He was a prince.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] A most incivil one. The wrongs he did me Were nothing princelike, 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 sorrow for thee. By thine own tongue thou art condemned 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.

Attendants bind Guiderius.

Belarius:[as Morgan] 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.—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:[as Cadwal] In that he spake too far.

Cymbeline:[to Morgan] And thou shalt die for ’t.

Belarius:[as Morgan] 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:[as Cadwal] Your danger’s ours.

Guiderius:[as Polydor] And our good his.

Belarius:[as Morgan] Have at it, then.—By leave, Thou hadst, great king, a subject who Was called Belarius.

Cymbeline:What of him? He is A banished traitor.

Belarius:He it is that hath Assumed this age; indeed a banished 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. [He kneels.] 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 banished. Your pleasure was my mere offense, my punishment Itself, and all my treason. That I suffered Was all the harm I did. These gentle princes— For such and so they are—these twenty years Have I trained up; those arts they have as I Could put into them. My breeding was, sir, as Your Highness knows. Their nurse Euriphile, Whom for the theft I wedded, stole these children Upon my banishment. I 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.

He weeps.

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 Polydor, Most worthy prince, as yours is true Guiderius; This gentleman, my Cadwal, Arviragus, Your younger princely son. He, sir, was lapped In a most curious mantle, wrought by th’ hand Of his queen mother, which for more probation I can with ease produce.

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

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

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

Imogen:No, my lord. I have got two worlds by ’t.—O my gentle brothers, Have we thus met? O, never say hereafter But I am truest speaker. You called me "brother" When I was but your sister; I you "brothers" When we were so indeed.

Cymbeline:Did you e’er meet?

Arviragus:Ay, my good lord.

Guiderius:And at first meeting loved, Continued so until we thought he died.

Cornelius:By the Queen’s dram she swallowed.

Cymbeline:[to Imogen] O, rare instinct! When shall I hear all through? This fierce abridgment Hath to it circumstantial branches which Distinction should be rich in. Where, how 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? [To Belarius.] These, And your three motives to the battle, with I know not how much more, should be demanded, And all the other by-dependences From chance to chance; but nor the time nor place Will serve our long interrogatories. See, Posthumus anchors upon Imogen; And she, like harmless lightning, throws her eye On him, her brothers, me, her master, hitting Each object with a joy; the counterchange Is severally in all. Let’s quit this ground, And smoke the temple with our sacrifices. Thou art my brother, so we’ll hold thee ever.

Imogen:[to Belarius] You are my father too, and did relieve me To see this gracious season.

Cymbeline:All o’erjoyed Save these in bonds; let them be joyful too, For they shall taste our comfort.

Imogen:[to Lucius] 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 followed. 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.

He holds out the ring and bracelet.

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 doomed. We’ll learn our freeness of a son-in-law: Pardon’s the word to all.

Iachimo rises.

Arviragus:[to Posthumus] You holp us, sir, As you did mean indeed to be our brother. Joyed 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 backed Appeared 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!

A Soothsayer:[coming forward] Here, my good lord.

Caius Lucius:Read, and declare the meaning.

A Soothsayer:[reads.] Whenas 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 Leo-natus, doth import so much. [To Cymbeline.] The piece of tender air thy virtuous daughter, Which we call "mollis aer," and "mollis aer" We term it "mulier," which "mulier" I divine Is this most constant wife; who, even now, Answering the letter of the oracle, [To Posthumus] Unknown to you, unsought, were clipped about With this most tender air.

Cymbeline:This hath some seeming.

A Soothsayer:The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline, Personates thee; and thy lopped branches point Thy two sons forth, who, by Belarius stol’n, For many years thought dead, are now revived, To the majestic cedar joined, 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.

A 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 accomplished. For the Roman eagle, From south to west on wing soaring aloft, Lessened herself and in the beams o’ th’ sun So vanished; which foreshowed our princely eagle, Th’ imperial Caesar, should again unite His favor 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 washed, with such a peace.

They exit.