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Britain. A hall in Cymbeline's palace.
Enter in state, CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN, and Lords at one door, and at another, CAIUS LUCIUS and Attendants.

Now say, what would Augustus Cæsar with us?

When Julius Cæsar, whose remembrance yet

Lives in men's eyes and will to ears and tongues

Be theme and hearing ever, was in this Britain

And conquer'd it, Cassibelan, thine uncle,--

Famous in Cæsar's praises, no whit less

Than in his feats deserving it--for him

And his succession granted Rome a tribute,

Yearly three thousand pounds, which by thee lately

Is left untender'd. (10)

And, to kill the marvel,

Shall be so ever.

There be many Cæsars,

Ere such another Julius. Britain is

A world by itself; and we will nothing pay

For wearing our own noses.

That opportunity

Which then they had to take from 's, to resume

We have again. Remember, sir, my liege,

The kings your ancestors, together with

The natural bravery of your isle, which stands

As Neptune's park, ribbed and paled in (20)

With rocks unscaleable and roaring waters,

With sands that will not bear your enemies' boats,

But suck them up to the topmast. A kind of conquest

Cæsar made here; but made not here his brag

Of 'Came' and 'saw' and 'overcame:' with shame--

The first that ever touch'd him--he was carried

From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping--

Poor ignorant baubles!--on our terrible seas,

Like egg-shells moved upon their surges, crack'd

As easily 'gainst our rocks: for joy whereof (30)

The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point--

O giglot fortune!--to master Cæsar's sword,

Made Lud's town with rejoicing fires bright

And Britons strut with courage.

Come, there's no more tribute to be
paid: our kingdom is stronger than it was at
that time; and, as I said, there is no moe
such Cæsars: other of them may have crook'd
noses, but to owe such straight arms, none. (39)

Son, let your mother end.

We have yet many among us can
gripe as hard as Cassibelan: I do not say I
am one; but I have a hand. Why tribute?
why should we pay tribute? If Cæsar 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

You must know,

Till the injurious Romans did extort

This tribute from us, we were free: Cæsar's ambition, (50)

Which swell'd so much that it did almost stretch

The sides o' the 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.

Clo. and Lords.
We do.

Say, then, to Cæsar,

Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which

Ordain'd our laws, whose use the sword of Cæsar

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, (60)

Who was the first of Britain which did put

His brows within a golden crown and call'd

Himself a king.

I am sorry, Cymbeline,

That I am to pronounce Augustus Cæsar--

Cæsar, that hath more kings his servants than

Thyself domestic officers--thine enemy:

Receive it from me, then: war and confusion

In Cæsar's name pronounce I 'gainst thee: look

For fury not to be resisted. Thus defied,

I thank thee for myself.

Thou art welcome, Caius. (70)

Thy Cæsar knighted me; my youth I spent

Much under him; of him I gather'd honor;

Which he to seek of me again, perforce,

Behoves me keep at utterance. I am perfect

That the Pannonians and Dalmatians for

Their liberties are now in arms; a precedent

Which not to read would show the Britons cold:

So Cæsar shall not find them.

Let proof speak.

His majesty bids you welcome. Make
pastime with us a day or two, or longer: if
you seek us afterwards in other terms, you
shall find us in our salt-water girdle: if you
beat us out of it, it is yours; if you fall in
the adventure, our crows shall fare the better
for you; and there's an end.

So, sir.

I know your master's pleasure and he mine:

All the remain is 'Welcome!' [Exeunt.


Another room in the palace.
Enter PISANIO, with a letter.

How! of adultery? Wherefore write you not

What monster's her accuser? Leonatus!

O master! what a strange infection

Is fall'n into thy ear! What false Italian,

As poisonous-tongued as handed, hath prevail'd

On thy too ready hearing? Disloyal! No:

She's punish'd for her truth, and undergoes,

More goddess-like than wife-like, such assaults

As would take in some virtue. O my master! (10)

Thy mind to her is now as low as were

Thy fortunes. How! that I should murder her?

Upon the love and truth and vows which I

Have made to thy command? I, her? her blood?

If it be so to do good service, never

Let me be counted serviceable. How look I,

That I should seem to lack humanity

So much as this fact comes to? [Reading]

'Do't: the letter

That I have sent her, by her own command

Shall give thee opportunity.' O damn'd paper! (20)

Black as the ink that's on thee! Senseless bauble,

Art thou a feodary for this act, and look'st

So virgin-like without? Lo, here she comes.

I am ignorant in what I am commanded. Enter IMOGEN.

How now, Pisanio!

Madam, here is a letter from my lord.

Who? thy lord? that is my lord, Leonatus!

O, learn'd indeed were that astronomer

That knew the stars as I his characters;

He'ld lay the future open. You good gods, (30)

Let what is here contain'd relish of love,

Of my lord's health, of his content, yet not

That we two are asunder; let that grieve him:

Some griefs are med'cinable; that is one of them,

For it doth physic love: of his content,

All but in that! Good wax, thy leave. Blest be

You bees that make these locks of counsel! Lovers

And men in dangerous bonds pray not alike:

Though forfeiters you cast in prison, yet (39)

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 counsellor should fill the bores of hearing,

To the smothering of the sense--how far it is

To this same blessed Milford: and by the way

Tell me how Wales was made so happy as

To inherit such a haven: but first of all,

How we may steal from hence, and for the gap

That we shall make in time, from our hence-going

And our return, to excuse: but first, how get hence:

Why should excuse be born or e'er begot?

We'll talk of that hereafter. Prithee, speak,

How many score of miles may we well ride

'Twixt hour and hour?

One score 'twixt sun and sun,

Madam, 's enough for you: [Aside]
and too
much too.

Why, one that rode to's execution, man,

Could never go so slow: I have heard of riding wagers,

Where horses have been nimbler than the sands

That run i' the clock's behalf. But this is foolery:

Go bid my woman feign a sickness; say

She'll home to her father: and provide me presently

A riding-suit, no costlier than would fit

A franklin's housewife.

Madam, you're best consider. (80)

I see before me, man: nor here, nor here,

Nor what ensues, but have a fog in them,

That I cannot look through. Away, I prithee;

Do as I bid thee: there's no more to say;

Accessible is none but Milford way. [Exeunt.


Wales: a mountainous country with a cave.
Enter, from the cave, BELARIUS; GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS following.

A goodly day not to keep house, with such

Whose roof's as low as ours! Stoop, boys; this gate

Instructs you how to adore the heavens and bows you

To a morning's holy office: the gates of monarchs

Are arch'd so high that giants may jet through

And keep their impious turbans on, without

Good morrow to the sun. Hail, thou fair heaven!

We house i' the rock, yet use thee not so hardly

As prouder livers do.

Hail, heaven!

Hail, heaven! (10)

Now for our mountain sport: up to yond hill;

Your legs are young; I'll tread these flats. Consider,

When you above perceive me like a crow,

That it is place which lessens and sets off:

And you may then revolve what tales I have told you

Of courts, of princes, of the tricks in war:

This service is not service, so being done

But being so allow'd: to apprehend thus,

Draws us a profit from all things we see;

And often, to our comfort, shall we find (20)

The sharded beetle in a safer hold

Than is the full-wing'd eagle. O, this life

Is nobler than attending for a check,

Richer than doing nothing for a bauble,

Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk:

Such gain the cap of him that makes 'em fine,

Yet keeps his book uncross'd: no life to ours.

Out of your proof you speak: we, poor unfledged,

Have never wing'd from view o' the nest, nor know not

What air's from home. Haply this life is best, (30)

If quiet life be best; sweeter to you

That have a sharper known; well corresponding

With your stiff age: but unto us it is

A cell of ignorance; travelling a-bed;

A prison for a debtor, that not dares

To stride a limit.

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; (40)

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 quire, as doth the prison'd bird,

And sing our bondage freely.

How you speak!

Did you but know the city's usuries

And felt them knowingly; the art o' the court,

As hard to leave as keep; whose top to climb

Is certain falling, or so slippery that

The fear's as bad as falling; the toil o' the war, (50)

A pain that only seems to seek out danger

I' the name of fame and honor; which dies i' the search,

And hath as oft a slanderous epitaph

As record of fair act; nay, many times,

Doth ill deserve by doing well; what's worse,

Must court'sy at the censure:--O boys, this story

The world may read in me: my body's mark'd

With Roman swords, and my report was once

First with the best of note: Cymbeline loved me,

And when a soldier was the theme, my name (60)

Was not far off: then was I as a tree

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

A storm of robbery, call it what you will,

Shook down my mellow hangings, nay, my leaves,

And left me bare to weather.

Uncertain favor!

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

But that two villains, whose false oaths prevail'd

Before my perfect honour, swore to Cymbeline

I was confederate with the Romans: so

Follow'd my banishment, and this twenty years (70)

This rock and these demesnes have been my world;

Where I have lived at honest freedom, paid

More pious debts to heaven than in all

The fore-end of my time. But up to the mountains!

This is not hunters' language: he that strikes

The venison first shall be the lord o' the feast;

To him the other two shall minister;

And we will fear no poison, which attends

In place of greater state. I'll meet you in the valleys. [Exeunt Guiderius and Arviragus.

How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature! (80)

These boys know little they are sons to the king;

Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive.

They think they are mine; and though train'd up thus meanly

I' the cave wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit

The roofs of palaces, and nature prompts them

In simple and low things to prince it much

Beyond the trick of others. This Polydore,

The heir of Cymbeline and Britain, who

The king his father call'd Guiderius,--Jove!

When on my three-foot stool I sit and tell (90)

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 (100)

Thou didst unjustly banish me: whereon,

At three and two years old, I stole these babes;

Thinking to bar thee of succession, as

Thou reft'st me of my lands. Euriphile,

Thou wast their nurse; they took thee for their mother,

And every day do honor to her grave:

Myself, Belarius, that am Morgan call'd,

They take for natural father. The game is up. [Exit.


Country near Milford-Haven.

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

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

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

Where is Posthumus? What is in thy mind,

That makes thee stare thus? Wherefore breaks that sigh

From the inward of thee? One, but painted thus,

Would be interpreted a thing perplex'd

Beyond self-explication: put thyself

Into a havior of less fear, ere wildness

Vanquish my staider senses. What's the matter?

Why tender'st thou that paper to me, with

A look untender? If't be summer news,

Smile to't before; if winterly, thou need'st

But keep that countenance still. My husband's hand!

That drug-damn'd Italy hath out-craftied him,

And he's at some hard point. Speak, man: thy tongue

May take off some extremity, which to read

Would be even mortal to me.

Please you, read;

And you shall find me, wretched man, a thing (20)

The most disdain'd of fortune.


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

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 (41)

This viperous slander enters. What cheer, madam?

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?

Alas, good lady!

I false! Thy conscience witness: Iachimo,

Thou didst accuse him of incontinency; (50)

Thou then look'dst like a villain; now methinks

Thy favor's good enough. Some jay of Italy

Whose mother was her painting, hath betray'd him:

Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion;

And, for I am richer than to hang by the walls,

I must be ripp'd:--to pieces with me!--O

Men's vows are women's traitors! All good seeming,

By thy revolt, O husband, shall be thought

Put on for villany; not born where't grows,

But worn a bait for ladies.

Good madam, hear me. (60)

True honest men being heard, like false Æneas,

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 see'st him,

A little witness my obedience: look! (69)

I draw the sword myself: take it, and hit

The innocent mansion of my love, my heart:

Fear not; 'tis empty of all things but grief:

Thy master is not there, who was indeed

The riches of it: do his bidding; strike.

Thou mayst be valiant in a better cause;

But now thou seem'st a coward.

Hence, vile instrument!

Thou shalt not damn my hand.

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 (80)

That cravens my weak hand. Come, here's my heart.

Something's afore't. Soft, soft! we'll no defence;

Obedient as the scabbard. What is here?

The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus,

All turn'd to heresy? Away, away,

Corrupters of my faith! you shall no more

Be stomachers to my heart. Thus may poor fools

Believe false teachers: though those that are betray'd

Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor (89)

Stands in worse case of woe.

And thou, Posthumus, thou that didst set up

My disobedience 'gainst the king my father

And make me put into contempt the suits

Of princely fellows, shalt hereafter find

It is no act of common passage, but

A strain of rareness: and I grieve myself

To think, when thou shalt be disedged by her

That now thou tirest on, how the memory

Will then be pang'd by me. Prithee, dispatch:

The lamb entreats the butcher: where's thy knife?

Thou art too slow to do thy master's bidding,

When I desire it too. (101)

O gracious lady,

Since I received command to do this business

I have not slept one wink.

Do't, and to bed then.

I'll wake mine eye-balls blind first.

Wherefore then

Didst undertake it? Why hast thou abused

So many miles with a pretence? this place?

Mine action and thine own? our horses' labor?

The time inviting thee? the perturb'd court,

For my being absent? whereunto I never

Purpose return. Why hast thou gone so far,

To be unbent when thou hast ta'en thy stand,

The elected deer before thee?

But to win time

To lose so bad employment; in the which

I have consider'd of a course. Good lady,

Hear me with patience.

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.

Then, madam,

I thought you would not back again.

Most like;

Bringing me here to kill me. (120)

Not so, neither:

But if I were as wise as honest, then

My purpose would prove well. It cannot be

But that my master is abused:

Some villain, ay, and singular in his art,

Hath done you both this cursed injury.

Some Roman courtezan.

No, on my life.

I'll give but notice you are dead and send him

Some bloody sign of it; for 'tis commanded

I should do so: you shall be miss'd at court,

And that will well confirm it. (130)

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?

If you'll back to the court--

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.

If not at court,

Then not in Britain must you bide.

Where then?

Hath Britain all the sun that shines? Day, night, (140)

Are they not in Britain? I' the world's volume

Our Britain seems as of it, but not in 't;

In a great pool a swan's nest: prithee, think

There's livers out of Britain.

I am most glad

You think of other place. The ambassador,

Lucius the Roman, comes to Milford-Haven

To-morrow: now, if you could wear a mind

Dark as your fortune is, and but disguise

That which, to appear itself, must not yet be

But by self-danger, you should tread a course (150)

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.

O, for such means!

Though peril to my modesty, not death on't,

I would adventure.

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: (161)

Ready in gibes, quick-answer'd, saucy and

As quarrelous as the weasel; nay, you must

Forget that rarest treasure of your cheek,

Exposing it--but, O, the harder heart!

Alack, no remedy!--to the greedy touch

Of common-kissing Titan, and forget

Your laborsome and dainty trims, wherein

You made great Juno angry.

Nay, be brief:

I see into thy end, and am almost

A man already. (170)

First, make yourself but like one.

Fore-thinking this, I have already fit--

'Tis in my cloak-bag--doublet, hat, hose, all

That answer to them: would you in their serving,

And with what imitation you can borrow

From youth of such a season, 'fore noble Lucius

Present yourself, desire his service, tell him

Wherein you're happy,--which you'll make him know,

If that his head have ear in music,--doubtless

With joy he will embrace you, for he's honorable

And doubling that, most holy. Your means abroad,

You have me, rich; and I will never fail

Beginning nor supplyment.

Thou art all the comfort

The gods will diet me with. Prithee, away:

There's more to be consider'd; but we'll even

All that good time will give us: this attempt

I am soldier to, and will abide it with

A prince's courage. Away, I prithee.

Well, madam, we must take a short farewell,

Lest, being miss'd, I be suspected of (190)

Your carriage from the court. My noble mistress,

Here is a box; I had it from the queen:

What's in't is precious; if you are sick at sea,

Or stomach-qualm'd at land, a dram of this

Will drive away distemper. To some shade,

And fit you to your manhood. May the gods

Direct you to the best!

Amen: I thank thee. [Exeunt, severally.


A room in Cymbeline's palace.
Enter CYMBELINE, QUEEN, CLOTEN, LUCIUS, Lords, and Attendants.

Thus far; and so farewell.

Thanks, royal sir.

My emperor hath wrote, I must from hence;

And am right sorry that I must report ye

My master's enemy.

Our subjects, sir,

Will not endure his yoke; and for ourself

To show less sovereignty than they, must needs

Appear unkinglike.

So, sir; I desire of you

A conduct over-land to Milford-Haven.

Madam, all joy befal your grace!

And you! (10)

My lords, you are appointed for that office;

The due of honor in no point omit.

So farewell, noble Lucius.

Your hand, my lord.

Receive it friendly; but from this time forth

I wear it as your enemy.

Sir, the event

Is yet to name the winner: fare you well.

Leave not the worthy Lucius, good my lords,

Till he have cross'd the Severn. Happiness! [Exeunt Lucius and Lords.

He goes hence frowning: but it honors us

That we have given him cause.

'Tis all the better;

Your valiant Britons have their wishes in it.

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.

'Tis not sleepy business;

But must be look'd to speedily and strongly.

Our expectation that it would be thus

Hath made us forward. But, my gentle queen,

Where is our daughter? She hath not appear'd (31)

Before the Roman, nor to us hath tender'd

The duty of the day: she looks us like

A thing more made of malice than of duty:

We have noted it. Call her before us; for

We have been too slight in sufferance. [Exit an Attendant.

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 (40)

So tender of rebukes that words are strokes

And strokes death to her. Re-enter Attendant.

Where is she, sir? How

Can her contempt be answer'd?

Please you, sir,

Her chambers are all lock'd; and there's no answer

That will be given to the loudest noise we make.

My lord, when last I went to visit her,

She pray'd me to excuse her keeping close,

Whereto constrain'd by her infirmity,

She should that duty leave unpaid to you,

Which daily she was bound to proffer: this (50)

She wish'd me to make known; but our great court

Made me to blame in memory.

Her doors lock'd?

Not seen of late? Grant, heavens, that which I fear

Prove false! [Exit.

Son, I say, follow the king.

That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant,

I have not seen these two days.

Go, look after. [Exit Cloten.

Pisanio, thou that stand'st so for Posthumus!

He hath a drug of mine; I pray his absence

Proceed by swallowing that, for he believes

It is a thing most precious. But for her, (60)

Where is she gone? Haply, despair hath seized her,

Or, wing'd with fervor of her love, she's flown

To her desired Posthumus: gone she is

To death or to dishonor; and my end

Can make good use of either: she being down,

I have the placing of the British crown. Re-enter CLOTEN.

How now, my son!

'Tis certain she is fled.

Go in and cheer the king: he rages; none

Dare come about him.

All the better: may

This night forestall him of the coming day! [Exit.

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 judgement

That what's else rare is choked; and in that point

I will conclude to hate her, nay, indeed, (79)

To be revenged upon her. For when fools

Shall-- Enter PISANIO.

Who is here? What, are you packing, sirrah?

Come hither: ah, you precious pandar! Villain,

Where is thy lady? In a word; or else

Thou art straightway with the fiends.

O, my good lord!

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.

Alas, my lord, (90)

How can she be with him? When was she miss'd?

He is in Rome.

Where is she, sir? Come nearer;

No further halting: satisfy me home

What is become of her.

O, my all-worthy lord!

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.

Then, sir, (99)

This paper is the history of my knowledge

Touching her flight. [Presenting a letter.

Let's see 't. I will pursue her

Even to Augustus' throne.

Or this, or perish.

She's far enough; and what he learns by this

May prove his travel, not her danger.


I'll write to my lord she's dead. O Imogen,

Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again!

Sirrah, is this letter true?

Sir, as I think.

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

Well, my good lord.

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?

Sir, I will.

Give me thy hand; here's my purse.
Hast any of thy late master's garments in thy

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

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

I shall, my lord. [Exit.

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 why my
lust hath dined,--which, as I say, to vex her I
will execute in the clothes that she so praised,
--to the court I'll knock her back, foot her
home again. She hath despised me rejoicingly,
and I'll be merry in my revenge. Re-enter PISANIO, with the clothes.

Be those the garments?

Ay, my noble lord.

How long is't since she went to

She can scarce be there yet.

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

Thou bid'st me to my loss: for true to thee

Were to prove false, which I will never be,

To him that is most true. To Milford go,

And find not her whom thou pursuest. Flow, flow,

You heavenly blessings, on her! This fool's speed

Be cross'd with slowness; labor be his meed! [Exit.


Wales. Before the cave of Belarius.
Enter IMOGEN, in boy's clothes.

I see a man's life is a tedious one:

I have tired myself, and for two nights together

Have made the ground my bed. I should be sick,

But that my resolution helps me. Milford,

When from the mountain-top Pisanio show'd thee,

Thou wast within a ken: O Jove! I think

Foundations fly the wretched; such, I mean,

Where they should be relieved. Two beggars told me

I could not miss my way: will poor folks lie, (10)

That have afflictions on them, knowing 'tis

A punishment or trial? Yes; no wonder,

When rich ones scarce tell true. To lapse in fulness

Is sorer than to lie for need, and falsehood

Is worse in kings than beggars. My dear lord!

Thou art one o' the false ones. Now I think on thee,

My hunger's gone; but even before, I was

At point to sink for food. But what is this?

Here is a path to 't: 'tis some savage hold:

I were best not call; I dare not call: yet famine, (20)

Ere clean it o'erthrow nature, makes it valiant.

Plenty and peace breeds cowards: hardness ever

Of hardiness is mother. Ho! who's here?

If any thing that's civil, speak; if savage,

Take or lend. Ho! No answer? Then I'll enter.

Best draw my sword; and if mine enemy

But fear the sword like me, he'll scarcely look on't.

Such a foe, good heavens! [Exit, to the cave.

You, Polydore, have proved best woodman and

Are master of the feast: Cadwal and I

Will play the cook and servant; 'tis our match: (31)

The sweat of industry would dry and die,

But for the end it works to. Come; our stomachs

Will make what's homely savoury: weariness

Can snore upon the flint, when resty sloth

Finds the down pillow hard. Now peace be here,

Poor house, that keep'st thyself!

I am thoroughly weary.

I am weak with toil, yet strong in appetite.

There is cold meat i' the cave: we'll browse on that,

Whilst what we have kill'd be cook'd. (40)

[Looking into the cave]
Stay; come not in.

But that it eats our victuals, I should think

Here were a fairy.

What's the matter, sir?

By Jupiter, an angel! or, if not,

An earthly paragon! Behold divineness

No elder than a boy! Re-enter IMOGEN.

Good masters, harm me not:

Before I enter'd here, I call'd; and thought

To have begg'd or bought what I have took: good troth,

I have stol'n nought, nor would not, though I had found (50)

Gold strew'd i' the floor. Here's money for my meat:

I would have left it on the board so soon

As I had made my meal, and parted

With prayers for the provider.

Money, youth?

All gold and silver rather turn to dirt!

As 'tis no better reckon'd, but of those

Who worship dirty gods.

I see you're angry:

Know, if you kill me for my fault, I should

Have died had I not made it.

Whither bound?

To Milford-Haven. (60)

What's your name?

Fidele, sir. I have a kinsman who

Is bound for Italy; he embark'd at Milford;

To whom being going, almost spent with hunger,

I am fall'n in this offence.

Prithee, fair youth

Think us no churls, nor measure our good minds

By this rude place we live in. Well encounter'd!

'Tis almost night: you shall have better cheer

Ere you depart; and thanks to stay and eat it.

Boys, bid him welcome.

Were you a woman, youth, (70)

I should woo hard but be your groom. In honesty,

I bid for you as I'ld buy.

I'll make't my comfort

He is a man; I'll love him as my brother:

And such a welcome as I'ld give to him

After long absence, such is yours: most welcome!

Be sprightly, for you fall 'mongst friends.

'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.

He wrings at some distress.

Would I could free't! (80)

Or I, whate'er it be,

What pain it cost, what danger. Gods!

Hark, boys! [Whispering.

Great men,

That had a court no bigger than this cave,

That did attend themselves and had the virtue

Which their own conscience seal'd them--laying by

That nothing-gift of differing multitudes--

Could not out-peer these twain. Pardon me, gods!

I'ld change my sex to be companion with them,

Since Leonatus's false.

It shall be so. (90)

Boys, we'll go dress our hunt. Fair youth, come in:

Discourse is heavy, fasting; when we have supp'd,

We'll mannerly demand thee of thy story,

So far as thou wilt speak it.

Pray, draw near.

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

Thanks, sir.

I pray, draw near. [Exeunt.


Rome. A public place.
Enter two Senators and Tribunes.

First Sen.
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, (9)

For this immediate levy, he commends

His absolute commission. Long live Cæsar!

First Tri.
Is Lucius general of the forces?

Sec. Sen.

First Tri.
Remaining now in Gallia?

First Sen.
With those legions

Which I have spoke of, whereunto your levy

Must be supplyant: the words of your commission

Will tie you to the numbers and the time

Of their dispatch.

First Tri.
We will discharge our duty. [Exeunt.

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