CYMBELINE king of Britain.
CLOTEN son to the Queen by a former husband.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS a gentleman, husband to Imogen.
BELARIUS a banished lord, disguised under the name of Morgan.

| sons to Cymbeline, disguised under the names
| of Polydote and Cadwal, supposed sons to
| Morgan.
PHILARIO friend to Posthumus,

IACHIMO friend to Philario,
| Italians.
CAIUS LUCIUS general of the Roman forces.
PISANIO servant to Posthumus.
CORNELIUS a physician.
A Roman Captain. (Captain:)
Two British Captains.
(First Captain:)
(Second Captain:)
A Frenchman, friend to Philario.
Two Lords of Cymbeline's court.
(First Lord:)
(Second Lord:)
Two Gentlemen of the same.
(First Gentleman:)
(Second Gentleman:)
Two Gaolers.
(First Gaoler:)
(Second Gaoler:)
QUEEN wife to Cymbeline.
IMOGEN daughter to Cymbeline by a former queen.
HELEN a lady attending on Imogen.
Lords, Ladies, Roman Senators, Tribunes,
a Soothsayer, a Dutchman, a Spaniard, Musicians,
Officers, Captains, Soldiers, Messengers,
and other Attendants. (Lord:)
(First Lady:)
(First Senator:)
(Second Senator:)
(First Tribune:)
(Sicilius Leonatus:)
(First Brother:)
(Second Brother:)


Britain; Rome.

Act I

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

[Enter two Gentlemen]
First Gentleman You do not meet a man but frowns: our bloods
No more obey the heavens than our courtiers
Still seem as does the king.
Second Gentleman But what's the matter?
First Gentleman His daughter, and the heir of's kingdom, whom
He purposed to his wife's sole son--a widow
That late he married--hath referr'd herself
Unto a poor but worthy gentleman: she's wedded;
Her husband banish'd; she imprison'd: all
Is outward sorrow; though I think the king
Be touch'd at very heart.
Second Gentleman None but the king?
First Gentleman He that hath lost her too; so is the queen,
That most desired the match; but not a courtier,
Although they wear their faces to the bent
Of the king's look's, hath a heart that is not
Glad at the thing they scowl at.
Second Gentleman And why so?
First Gentleman He that hath miss'd the princess is a thing
Too bad for bad report: and he that hath her--
I mean, that married her, alack, good man!
And therefore banish'd--is a creature such
As, to seek through the regions of the earth
For one his like, there would be something failing
In him that should compare. I do not think
So fair an outward and such stuff within
Endows a man but he.
Second Gentleman You speak him far.
First Gentleman I do extend him, sir, within himself,
Crush him together rather than unfold
His measure duly.
Second Gentleman What's his name and birth?
First Gentleman I cannot delve him to the root: his father
Was call'd Sicilius, who did join his honour
Against the Romans with Cassibelan,
But had his titles by Tenantius whom
He served with glory and admired success,
So gain'd the sur-addition Leonatus;
And had, besides this gentleman in question,
Two other sons, who in the wars o' the time
Died with their swords in hand; for which
their father,
Then old and fond of issue, took such sorrow
That he quit being, and his gentle lady,
Big of this gentleman our theme, deceased
As he was born. The king he takes the babe
To his protection, calls him Posthumus Leonatus,
Breeds him and makes him of his bed-chamber,
Puts to him all the learnings that his time
Could make him the receiver of; which he took,
As we do air, fast as 'twas minister'd,
And in's spring became a harvest, lived in court--
Which rare it is to do--most praised, most loved,
A sample to the youngest, to the more mature
A glass that feated them, and to the graver
A child that guided dotards; to his mistress,
For whom he now is banish'd, her own price
Proclaims how she esteem'd him and his virtue;
By her election may be truly read
What kind of man he is.
Second Gentleman I honour him
Even out of your report. But, pray you, tell me,
Is she sole child to the king?
First Gentleman His only child.
He had two sons: if this be worth your hearing,
Mark it: the eldest of them at three years old,
I' the swathing-clothes the other, from their nursery
Were stol'n, and to this hour no guess in knowledge
Which way they went.
Second Gentleman How long is this ago?
First Gentleman Some twenty years.
Second Gentleman That a king's children should be so convey'd,
So slackly guarded, and the search so slow,
That could not trace them!
First Gentleman Howsoe'er 'tis strange,
Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at,
Yet is it true, sir.
Second Gentleman I do well believe you.
First Gentleman We must forbear: here comes the gentleman,
The queen, and princess.
QUEEN No, be assured you shall not find me, daughter,
After the slander of most stepmothers,
Evil-eyed unto you: you're my prisoner, but
Your gaoler shall deliver you the keys
That lock up your restraint. For you, Posthumus,
So soon as I can win the offended king,
I will be known your advocate: marry, yet
The fire of rage is in him, and 'twere good
You lean'd unto his sentence with what patience
Your wisdom may inform you.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Please your highness,
I will from hence to-day.
QUEEN You know the peril.
I'll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying
The pangs of barr'd affections, though the king
Hath charged you should not speak together.
Dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant
Can tickle where she wounds! My dearest husband,
I something fear my father's wrath; but nothing--
Always reserved my holy duty--what
His rage can do on me: you must be gone;
And I shall here abide the hourly shot
Of angry eyes, not comforted to live,
But that there is this jewel in the world
That I may see again.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS My queen! my mistress!
O lady, weep no more, lest I give cause
To be suspected of more tenderness
Than doth become a man. I will remain
The loyal'st husband that did e'er plight troth:
My residence in Rome at one Philario's,
Who to my father was a friend, to me
Known but by letter: thither write, my queen,
And with mine eyes I'll drink the words you send,
Though ink be made of gall.
[Re-enter QUEEN]
QUEEN Be brief, I pray you:
If the king come, I shall incur I know not
How much of his displeasure.
Yet I'll move him
To walk this way: I never do him wrong,
But he does buy my injuries, to be friends;
Pays dear for my offences.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Should we be taking leave
As long a term as yet we have to live,
The loathness to depart would grow. Adieu!
IMOGEN Nay, stay a little:
Were you but riding forth to air yourself,
Such parting were too petty. Look here, love;
This diamond was my mother's: take it, heart;
But keep it till you woo another wife,
When Imogen is dead.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS How, how! another?
You gentle gods, give me but this I have,
And sear up my embracements from a next
With bonds of death!
[Putting on the ring]
Remain, remain thou here
While sense can keep it on. And, sweetest, fairest,
As I my poor self did exchange for you,
To your so infinite loss, so in our trifles
I still win of you: for my sake wear this;
It is a manacle of love; I'll place it
Upon this fairest prisoner.
[Putting a bracelet upon her arm]
IMOGEN O the gods!
When shall we see again?
[Enter CYMBELINE and Lords]
CYMBELINE Thou basest thing, avoid! hence, from my sight!
If after this command thou fraught the court
With thy unworthiness, thou diest: away!
Thou'rt poison to my blood.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS The gods protect you!
And bless the good remainders of the court! I am gone.
IMOGEN There cannot be a pinch in death
More sharp than this is.
CYMBELINE O disloyal thing,
That shouldst repair my youth, thou heap'st
A year's age on me.
IMOGEN I beseech you, sir,
Harm not yourself with your vexation
I am senseless of your wrath; a touch more rare
Subdues all pangs, all fears.
CYMBELINE Past grace? obedience?
IMOGEN Past hope, and in despair; that way, past grace.
CYMBELINE That mightst have had the sole son of my queen!
IMOGEN O blest, that I might not! I chose an eagle,
And did avoid a puttock.
CYMBELINE Thou took'st a beggar; wouldst have made my throne
A seat for baseness.
IMOGEN No; I rather added
A lustre to it.
CYMBELINE O thou vile one!
It is your fault that I have loved Posthumus:
You bred him as my playfellow, and he is
A man worth any woman, overbuys me
Almost the sum he pays.
CYMBELINE What, art thou mad?
IMOGEN Almost, sir: heaven restore me! Would I were
A neat-herd's daughter, and my Leonatus
Our neighbour shepherd's son!
CYMBELINE Thou foolish thing!
[Re-enter QUEEN]
They were again together: you have done
Not after our command. Away with her,
And pen her up.
QUEEN Beseech your patience. Peace,
Dear lady daughter, peace! Sweet sovereign,
Leave us to ourselves; and make yourself some comfort
Out of your best advice.
CYMBELINE Nay, let her languish
A drop of blood a day; and, being aged,
Die of this folly!
[Exeunt CYMBELINE and Lords]
QUEEN Fie! you must give way.
Here is your servant. How now, sir! What news?
PISANIO My lord your son drew on my master.
No harm, I trust, is done?
PISANIO There might have been,
But that my master rather play'd than fought
And had no help of anger: they were parted
By gentlemen at hand.
QUEEN I am very glad on't.
IMOGEN Your son's my father's friend; he takes his part.
To draw upon an exile! O brave sir!
I would they were in Afric both together;
Myself by with a needle, that I might prick
The goer-back. Why came you from your master?
PISANIO On his command: he would not suffer me
To bring him to the haven; left these notes
Of what commands I should be subject to,
When 't pleased you to employ me.
QUEEN This hath been
Your faithful servant: I dare lay mine honour
He will remain so.
PISANIO I humbly thank your highness.
QUEEN Pray, walk awhile.
IMOGEN About some half-hour hence,
I pray you, speak with me: you shall at least
Go see my lord aboard: for this time leave me.

Scene II The same. A public place.

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

Scene III A room in Cymbeline's palace.

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

Scene IV Rome. Philario's house.

[Enter PHILARIO, IACHIMO, a Frenchman, a
Dutchman, and a Spaniard]
IACHIMO Believe it, sir, I have seen him in Britain: he was
then of a crescent note, expected to prove so worthy
as since he hath been allowed the name of; but I
could then have looked on him without the help of
admiration, though the catalogue of his endowments
had been tabled by his side and I to peruse him by items.
PHILARIO You speak of him when he was less furnished than now
he is with that which makes him both without and within.
Frenchman I have seen him in France: we had very many there
could behold the sun with as firm eyes as he.
IACHIMO This matter of marrying his king's daughter, wherein
he must be weighed rather by her value than his own,
words him, I doubt not, a great deal from the matter.
Frenchman And then his banishment.
IACHIMO Ay, and the approbation of those that weep this
lamentable divorce under her colours are wonderfully
to extend him; be it but to fortify her judgment,
which else an easy battery might lay flat, for
taking a beggar without less quality. But how comes
it he is to sojourn with you? How creeps
PHILARIO His father and I were soldiers together; to whom I
have been often bound for no less than my life.
Here comes the Briton: let him be so entertained
amongst you as suits, with gentlemen of your
knowing, to a stranger of his quality.
I beseech you all, be better known to this
gentleman; whom I commend to you as a noble friend
of mine: how worthy he is I will leave to appear
hereafter, rather than story him in his own hearing.
Frenchman Sir, we have known together in Orleans.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Since when I have been debtor to you for courtesies,
which I will be ever to pay and yet pay still.
Frenchman Sir, you o'er-rate my poor kindness: I was glad I
did atone my countryman and you; it had been pity
you should have been put together with so mortal a
purpose as then each bore, upon importance of so
slight and trivial a nature.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS By your pardon, sir, I was then a young traveller;
rather shunned to go even with what I heard than in
my every action to be guided by others' experiences:
but upon my mended judgment--if I offend not to say
it is mended--my quarrel was not altogether slight.
Frenchman 'Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrement of swords,
and by such two that would by all likelihood have
confounded one the other, or have fallen both.
IACHIMO Can we, with manners, ask what was the difference?
Frenchman Safely, I think: 'twas a contention in public,
which may, without contradiction, suffer the report.
It was much like an argument that fell out last
night, where each of us fell in praise of our
country mistresses; this gentleman at that time
vouching--and upon warrant of bloody
affirmation--his to be more fair, virtuous, wise,
chaste, constant-qualified and less attemptable
than any the rarest of our ladies in France.
IACHIMO That lady is not now living, or this gentleman's
opinion by this worn out.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS She holds her virtue still and I my mind.
IACHIMO You must not so far prefer her 'fore ours of Italy.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Being so far provoked as I was in France, I would
abate her nothing, though I profess myself her
adorer, not her friend.
IACHIMO As fair and as good--a kind of hand-in-hand
comparison--had been something too fair and too good
for any lady in Britain. If she went before others
I have seen, as that diamond of yours outlustres
many I have beheld. I could not but believe she
excelled many: but I have not seen the most
precious diamond that is, nor you the lady.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS I praised her as I rated her: so do I my stone.
IACHIMO What do you esteem it at?
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS More than the world enjoys.
IACHIMO Either your unparagoned mistress is dead, or she's
outprized by a trifle.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS You are mistaken: the one may be sold, or given, if
there were wealth enough for the purchase, or merit
for the gift: the other is not a thing for sale,
and only the gift of the gods.
IACHIMO Which the gods have given you?
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Which, by their graces, I will keep.
IACHIMO You may wear her in title yours: but, you know,
strange fowl light upon neighbouring ponds. Your
ring may be stolen too: so your brace of unprizable
estimations; the one is but frail and the other
casual; a cunning thief, or a that way accomplished
courtier, would hazard the winning both of first and last.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Your Italy contains none so accomplished a courtier
to convince the honour of my mistress, if, in the
holding or loss of that, you term her frail. I do
nothing doubt you have store of thieves;
notwithstanding, I fear not my ring.
PHILARIO Let us leave here, gentlemen.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Sir, with all my heart. This worthy signior, I
thank him, makes no stranger of me; we are familiar at first.
IACHIMO With five times so much conversation, I should get
ground of your fair mistress, make her go back, even
to the yielding, had I admittance and opportunity to friend.
IACHIMO I dare thereupon pawn the moiety of my estate to
your ring; which, in my opinion, o'ervalues it
something: but I make my wager rather against your
confidence than her reputation: and, to bar your
offence herein too, I durst attempt it against any
lady in the world.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS You are a great deal abused in too bold a
persuasion; and I doubt not you sustain what you're
worthy of by your attempt.
IACHIMO What's that?
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS A repulse: though your attempt, as you call it,
deserve more; a punishment too.
PHILARIO Gentlemen, enough of this: it came in too suddenly;
let it die as it was born, and, I pray you, be
better acquainted.
IACHIMO Would I had put my estate and my neighbour's on the
approbation of what I have spoke!
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS What lady would you choose to assail?
IACHIMO Yours; whom in constancy you think stands so safe.
I will lay you ten thousand ducats to your ring,
that, commend me to the court where your lady is,
with no more advantage than the opportunity of a
second conference, and I will bring from thence
that honour of hers which you imagine so reserved.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS I will wage against your gold, gold to it: my ring
I hold dear as my finger; 'tis part of it.
IACHIMO You are afraid, and therein the wiser. If you buy
ladies' flesh at a million a dram, you cannot
preserve it from tainting: but I see you have some
religion in you, that you fear.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS This is but a custom in your tongue; you bear a
graver purpose, I hope.
IACHIMO I am the master of my speeches, and would undergo
what's spoken, I swear.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS Will you? I shall but lend my diamond till your
return: let there be covenants drawn between's: my
mistress exceeds in goodness the hugeness of your
unworthy thinking: I dare you to this match: here's my ring.
PHILARIO I will have it no lay.
IACHIMO By the gods, it is one. If I bring you no
sufficient testimony that I have enjoyed the dearest
bodily part of your mistress, my ten thousand ducats
are yours; so is your diamond too: if I come off,
and leave her in such honour as you have trust in,
she your jewel, this your jewel, and my gold are
yours: provided I have your commendation for my more
free entertainment.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUS I embrace these conditions; let us have articles
betwixt us. Only, thus far you shall answer: if
you make your voyage upon her and give me directly
to understand you have prevailed, I am no further
your enemy; she is not worth our debate: if she
remain unseduced, you not making it appear
otherwise, for your ill opinion and the assault you
have made to her chastity you shall answer me with
your sword.
IACHIMO Your hand; a covenant: we will have these things set
down by lawful counsel, and straight away for
Britain, lest the bargain should catch cold and
starve: I will fetch my gold and have our two
wagers recorded.
Frenchman Will this hold, think you?
PHILARIO Signior Iachimo will not from it.
Pray, let us follow 'em.

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

[Enter QUEEN, Ladies, and CORNELIUS]
QUEEN Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those flowers;
Make haste: who has the note of them?
First Lady I, madam.
QUEEN Dispatch.
[Exeunt Ladies]
Now, master doctor, have you brought those drugs?
CORNELIUS Pleaseth your highness, ay: here they are, madam:
[Presenting a small box]
But I beseech your grace, without offence,--
My conscience bids me ask--wherefore you have
Commanded of me those most poisonous compounds,
Which are the movers of a languishing death;
But though slow, deadly?
QUEEN I wonder, doctor,
Thou ask'st me such a question. Have I not been
Thy pupil long? Hast thou not learn'd me how
To make perfumes? distil? preserve? yea, so
That our great king himself doth woo me oft
For my confections? Having thus far proceeded,--
Unless thou think'st me devilish--is't not meet
That I did amplify my judgment in
Other conclusions? I will try the forces
Of these thy compounds on such creatures as
We count not worth the hanging, but none human,
To try the vigour of them and apply
Allayments to their act, and by them gather
Their several virtues and effects.
CORNELIUS Your highness
Shall from this practise but make hard your heart:
Besides, the seeing these effects will be
Both noisome and infectious.
QUEEN O, content thee.
Here comes a flattering rascal; upon him
Will I first work: he's for his master,
An enemy to my son. How now, Pisanio!
Doctor, your service for this time is ended;
Take your own way.
CORNELIUS [Aside] I do suspect you, madam;
But you shall do no harm.
QUEEN [To PISANIO] Hark thee, a word.
CORNELIUS [Aside] I do not like her. She doth think she has
Strange lingering poisons: I do know her spirit,
And will not trust one of her malice with
A drug of such damn'd nature. Those she has
Will stupefy and dull the sense awhile;
Which first, perchance, she'll prove on
cats and dogs,
Then afterward up higher: but there is
No danger in what show of death it makes,
More than the locking-up the spirits a time,
To be more fresh, reviving. She is fool'd
With a most false effect; and I the truer,
So to be false with her.
QUEEN No further service, doctor,
Until I send for thee.
CORNELIUS I humbly take my leave.
QUEEN Weeps she still, say'st thou? Dost thou think in time
She will not quench and let instructions enter
Where folly now possesses? Do thou work:
When thou shalt bring me word she loves my son,
I'll tell thee on the instant thou art then
As great as is thy master, greater, for
His fortunes all lie speechless and his name
Is at last gasp: return he cannot, nor
Continue where he is: to shift his being
Is to exchange one misery with another,
And every day that comes comes to decay
A day's work in him. What shalt thou expect,
To be depender on a thing that leans,
Who cannot be new built, nor has no friends,
So much as but to prop him?
[The QUEEN drops the box: PISANIO takes it up]
Thou takest up
Thou know'st not what; but take it for thy labour:
It is a thing I made, which hath the king
Five times redeem'd from death: I do not know
What is more cordial. Nay, I prethee, take it;
It is an earnest of a further good
That I mean to thee. Tell thy mistress how
The case stands with her; do't as from thyself.
Think what a chance thou changest on, but think
Thou hast thy mistress still, to boot, my son,
Who shall take notice of thee: I'll move the king
To any shape of thy preferment such
As thou'lt desire; and then myself, I chiefly,
That set thee on to this desert, am bound
To load thy merit richly. Call my women:
Think on my words.
A sly and constant knave,
Not to be shaked; the agent for his master
And the remembrancer of her to hold
The hand-fast to her lord. I have given him that
Which, if he take, shall quite unpeople her
Of liegers for her sweet, and which she after,
Except she bend her humour, shall be assured
To taste of too.
[Re-enter PISANIO and Ladies]
So, so: well done, well done:
The violets, cowslips, and the primroses,
Bear to my closet. Fare thee well, Pisanio;
Think on my words.
[Exeunt QUEEN and Ladies]
PISANIO And shall do:
But when to my good lord I prove untrue,
I'll choke myself: there's all I'll do for you.

Scene VI The same. Another room in the palace.

[Enter IMOGEN]
IMOGEN A father cruel, and a step-dame false;
A foolish suitor to a wedded lady,
That hath her husband banish'd;--O, that husband!
My supreme crown of grief! and those repeated
Vexations of it! Had I been thief-stol'n,
As my two brothers, happy! but most miserable
Is the desire that's glorious: blest be those,
How mean soe'er, that have their honest wills,
Which seasons comfort. Who may this be? Fie!
PISANIO Madam, a noble gentleman of Rome,
Comes from my lord with letters.
IACHIMO Change you, madam?
The worthy Leonatus is in safety
And greets your highness dearly.
[Presents a letter]
IMOGEN Thanks, good sir:
You're kindly welcome.
IACHIMO [Aside] All of her that is out of door most rich!
If she be furnish'd with a mind so rare,
She is alone the Arabian bird, and I
Have lost the wager. Boldness be my friend!
Arm me, audacity, from head to foot!
Or, like the Parthian, I shall flying fight;
Rather directly fly.
IMOGEN [Reads] 'He is one of the noblest note, to whose
kindnesses I am most infinitely tied. Reflect upon
him accordingly, as you value your trust--
So far I read aloud:
But even the very middle of my heart
Is warm'd by the rest, and takes it thankfully.
You are as welcome, worthy sir, as I
Have words to bid you, and shall find it so
In all that I can do.
IACHIMO Thanks, fairest lady.
What, are men mad? Hath nature given them eyes
To see this vaulted arch, and the rich crop
Of sea and land, which can distinguish 'twixt
The fiery orbs above and the twinn'd stones
Upon the number'd beach? and can we not
Partition make with spectacles so precious
'Twixt fair and foul?
IMOGEN What makes your admiration?
IACHIMO It cannot be i' the eye, for apes and monkeys
'Twixt two such shes would chatter this way and
Contemn with mows the other; nor i' the judgment,
For idiots in this case of favour would
Be wisely definite; nor i' the appetite;
Sluttery to such neat excellence opposed
Should make desire vomit emptiness,
Not so allured to feed.
IMOGEN What is the matter, trow?
IACHIMO The cloyed will,
That satiate yet unsatisfied desire, that tub
Both fill'd and running, ravening first the lamb
Longs after for the garbage.
IMOGEN What, dear sir,
Thus raps you? Are you well?
IACHIMO Thanks, madam; well.
Beseech you, sir, desire
My man's abode where I did leave him: he
Is strange and peevish.
PISANIO I was going, sir,
To give him welcome.
IMOGEN Continues well my lord? His health, beseech you?
IACHIMO Well, madam.
IMOGEN Is he disposed to mirth? I hope he is.
IACHIMO Exceeding pleasant; none a stranger there
So merry and so gamesome: he is call'd
The Briton reveller.
IMOGEN When he was here,
He did incline to sadness, and oft-times
Not knowing why.
IACHIMO I never saw him sad.
There is a Frenchman his companion, one
An eminent monsieur, that, it seems, much loves
A Gallian girl at home; he furnaces
The thick sighs from him, whiles the jolly Briton--
Your lord, I mean--laughs from's free lungs, cries 'O,
Can my sides hold, to think that man, who knows
By history, report, or his own proof,
What woman is, yea, what she cannot choose
But must be, will his free hours languish for
Assured bondage?'
IMOGEN Will my lord say so?
IACHIMO Ay, madam, with his eyes in flood with laughter:
It is a recreation to be by
And hear him mock the Frenchman. But, heavens know,
Some men are much to blame.
IMOGEN Not he, I hope.
IACHIMO Not he: but yet heaven's bounty towards him might
Be used more thankfully. In himself, 'tis much;
In you, which I account his beyond all talents,
Whilst I am bound to wonder, I am bound
To pity too.
IMOGEN What do you pity, sir?
IACHIMO Two creatures heartily.
IMOGEN Am I one, sir?
You look on me: what wreck discern you in me
Deserves your pity?
IACHIMO Lamentable! What,
To hide me from the radiant sun and solace
I' the dungeon by a snuff?
IMOGEN I pray you, sir,
Deliver with more openness your answers
To my demands. Why do you pity me?
IACHIMO That others do--
I was about to say--enjoy your--But
It is an office of the gods to venge it,
Not mine to speak on 't.
IMOGEN You do seem to know
Something of me, or what concerns me: pray you,--
Since doubling things go ill often hurts more
Than to be sure they do; for certainties
Either are past remedies, or, timely knowing,
The remedy then born--discover to me
What both you spur and stop.
IACHIMO Had I this cheek
To bathe my lips upon; this hand, whose touch,
Whose every touch, would force the feeler's soul
To the oath of loyalty; this object, which
Takes prisoner the wild motion of mine eye,
Fixing it only here; should I, damn'd then,
Slaver with lips as common as the stairs
That mount the Capitol; join gripes with hands
Made hard with hourly falsehood--falsehood, as
With labour; then by-peeping in an eye
Base and unlustrous as the smoky light
That's fed with stinking tallow; it were fit
That all the plagues of hell should at one time
Encounter such revolt.
IMOGEN My lord, I fear,
Has forgot Britain.
IACHIMO And himself. Not I,
Inclined to this intelligence, pronounce
The beggary of his change; but 'tis your graces
That from pay mutest conscience to my tongue
Charms this report out.
IMOGEN Let me hear no more.
IACHIMO O dearest soul! your cause doth strike my heart
With pity, that doth make me sick. A lady
So fair, and fasten'd to an empery,
Would make the great'st king double,--to be partner'd
With tomboys hired with that self-exhibition
Which your own coffers yield! with diseased ventures
That play with all infirmities for gold
Which rottenness can lend nature! such boil'd stuff
As well might poison poison! Be revenged;
Or she that bore you was no queen, and you
Recoil from your great stock.
IMOGEN Revenged!
How should I be revenged? If this be true,--
As I have such a heart that both mine ears
Must not in haste abuse--if it be true,
How should I be revenged?
IACHIMO Should he make me
Live, like Diana's priest, betwixt cold sheets,
Whiles he is vaulting variable ramps,
In your despite, upon your purse? Revenge it.
I dedicate myself to your sweet pleasure,
More noble than that runagate to your bed,
And will continue fast to your affection,
Still close as sure.
IMOGEN What, ho, Pisanio!
IACHIMO Let me my service tender on your lips.
IMOGEN Away! I do condemn mine ears that have
So long attended thee. If thou wert honourable,
Thou wouldst have told this tale for virtue, not
For such an end thou seek'st,--as base as strange.
Thou wrong'st a gentleman, who is as far
From thy report as thou from honour, and
Solicit'st here a lady that disdains
Thee and the devil alike. What ho, Pisanio!
The king my father shall be made acquainted
Of thy assault: if he shall think it fit,
A saucy stranger in his court to mart
As in a Romish stew and to expound
His beastly mind to us, he hath a court
He little cares for and a daughter who
He not respects at all. What, ho, Pisanio!
IACHIMO O happy Leonatus! I may say
The credit that thy lady hath of thee
Deserves thy trust, and thy most perfect goodness
Her assured credit. Blessed live you long!
A lady to the worthiest sir that ever
Country call'd his! and you his mistress, only
For the most worthiest fit! Give me your pardon.
I have spoke this, to know if your affiance
Were deeply rooted; and shall make your lord,
That which he is, new o'er: and he is one
The truest manner'd; such a holy witch
That he enchants societies into him;
Half all men's hearts are his.
IMOGEN You make amends.
IACHIMO He sits 'mongst men like a descended god:
He hath a kind of honour sets him off,
More than a mortal seeming. Be not angry,
Most mighty princess, that I have adventured
To try your taking a false report; which hath
Honour'd with confirmation your great judgment
In the election of a sir so rare,
Which you know cannot err: the love I bear him
Made me to fan you thus, but the gods made you,
Unlike all others, chaffless. Pray, your pardon.
IMOGEN All's well, sir: take my power i' the court
for yours.
IACHIMO My humble thanks. I had almost forgot
To entreat your grace but in a small request,
And yet of moment to, for it concerns
Your lord; myself and other noble friends,
Are partners in the business.
IMOGEN Pray, what is't?
IACHIMO Some dozen Romans of us and your lord--
The best feather of our wing--have mingled sums
To buy a present for the emperor
Which I, the factor for the rest, have done
In France: 'tis plate of rare device, and jewels
Of rich and exquisite form; their values great;
And I am something curious, being strange,
To have them in safe stowage: may it please you
To take them in protection?
IMOGEN Willingly;
And pawn mine honour for their safety: since
My lord hath interest in them, I will keep them
In my bedchamber.
IACHIMO They are in a trunk,
Attended by my men: I will make bold
To send them to you, only for this night;
I must aboard to-morrow.
IMOGEN O, no, no.
IACHIMO Yes, I beseech; or I shall short my word
By lengthening my return. From Gallia
I cross'd the seas on purpose and on promise
To see your grace.
IMOGEN I thank you for your pains:
But not away to-morrow!
IACHIMO O, I must, madam:
Therefore I shall beseech you, if you please
To greet your lord with writing, do't to-night:
I have outstood my time; which is material
To the tender of our present.
IMOGEN I will write.
Send your trunk to me; it shall safe be kept,
And truly yielded you. You're very welcome.

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