Cymbeline

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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.

Exeunt

Enter the QUEEN, POSTHUMUS LEONATUS, and IMOGEN

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.

Exit

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.

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.

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 offences.

Exit

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

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.

Exit

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!

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 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.

Enter PISANIO

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

PISANIO

My lord your son drew on my master.

QUEEN

Ha!
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.

Exeunt

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.

Exeunt

SCENE III. A room in Cymbeline's palace.

Enter IMOGEN and PISANIO

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.

Exeunt

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
acquaintance?

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.

Enter POSTHUMUS LEONATUS

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