Cymbeline eText - Act I

Act I

Act I, Scene 1

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

Act I, Scene 2

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

Act I, Scene 3

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

Act I, Scene 4

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 look'd 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 furnish'd 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 judgement, 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.

FRENCHMAN.
Sir, we have known together in Orleans.

POSTHUMUS.
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.
By your pardon, sir, I was then a young traveller; rather shunn'd
to go even with what I heard than in my every action to be guided
by others' experiences: but upon my mended judgement--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.
She holds her virtue still, and I my mind.

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

POSTHUMUS.
Being so far provok'd 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.
I prais'd her as I rated her; so do I my stone.

IACHIMO.
What do you esteem it at?

POSTHUMUS.
More than the world enjoys.

IACHIMO.
Either your unparagon'd mistress is dead, or she's outpriz'd by a
trifle.

POSTHUMUS.
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.
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-
accomplish'd courtier, would hazard the winning both of first
and last.

POSTHUMUS.
Your Italy contains none so accomplish'd 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.
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.
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 offence herein too, I durst attempt it against any
lady in the world.

POSTHUMUS.
You are a great deal abus'd in too bold a persuasion; and I doubt
not you sustain what you're worthy of by your attempt.

IACHIMO.
What's that?

POSTHUMUS.
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.
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 reserv'd.

POSTHUMUS.
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.
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.
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 enjoy'd 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.
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 prevail'd, I am no
further your enemy; she is not worth our debate. If she remain
unseduc'd, 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.

POSTHUMUS.
Agreed.

[Exeunt POSTHUMUS and IACHIMO.]

FRENCHMAN.
Will this hold, think you?

PHILARIO.
Signior Iachimo will not from it. Pray, let us follow 'em.

[Exeunt.]

Act I, Scene 5

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 these 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 judgement 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 practice but make hard your heart.
Besides, the seeing these effects will be
Both noisome and infectious.

QUEEN. O, content thee.

[Enter PISANIO.]

[Aside.]

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 ling'ring 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 a while,
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.

[Exit.]

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
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 tak'st 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 prithee, 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.

[Exit PISANIO.]

A sly and constant knave,
Not to be shak'd; 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 assur'd
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.

[Exit.]

Act I, Scene 6

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-stolen,
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.

[Presents a letter]

IMOGEN.
Thanks, good sir;
You're kindly welcome.

IACHIMO.

[Aside.]

All of her that is out of door most rich!
If she be furnish'd with a mind so rare,
She is alone, the Arabian bird, and I
Have lost the wager. Boldness be my friend!
Arm me, audacity, from head to foot!
Or, like the Parthian, I shall flying fight;
Rather, directly fly.

IMOGEN.

[Reads]

"--He is one of the noblest note, to whose
kindnesses I am most infinitely tied. Reflect upon him
accordingly, as you value your trust-- LEONATUS"

So far I read aloud--
But even the very middle of my heart
Is warm'd by the rest--and take 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 judgement,
For idiots in this case of favour would
Be wisely definite; nor i' the appetite;
Sluttery to such neat excellence oppos'd
Should make desire vomit emptiness,
Not so allur'd to feed.

IMOGEN.
What is the matter, trow?

IACHIMO.
The cloyed will,--
That satiate yet unsatisfi'd 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.

[To PISANIO.]

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.

[Exit.]

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

IACHIMO.
Well, madam.

IMOGEN.
Is he dispos'd 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 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 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 lie peeping in an eye
Base and illustrious 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,
Inclin'd 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 fasten'd to an empery
Would make the great'st king double,--to be partner'd
With tomboys hir'd with that self-exhibition
Which your own coffers yield! with diseas'd ventures
That play with all infirmities for gold
Which rottenness can lend nature! such boil'd stuff
As well might poison poison! Be reveng'd;
Or she that bore you was no queen, and you
Recoil from your great stock.

IMOGEN.
Reveng'd!
How should I be reveng'd? 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 reveng'd?

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 assur'd 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 adventur'd
To try your taking of a false report; which hath
Honour'd with confirmation your great judgement
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 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 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.

[Exeunt.]