Cymbeline "I Have Not Slept One Wink"
by William Shakespeare

Cymbeline book cover
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"I Have Not Slept One Wink"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Imogen, daughter of King Cymbeline, marries Posthumus against the wishes of the king and her stepmother, who wants her to marry the latter's son, Cloton. Cymbeline banishes Posthumus, who, in Italy, makes a bet with an Italian, Iachimo, on the purity and faithfulness of the wife from whom he is forcibly separated. Through treachery on the part of the Italian, Posthumus is led to believe that Imogen has been untrue to him. Posthumus has ordered, by letter, his servant Pisanio, to kill her. Pisanio, however, knows of Imogen's faithfulness and the suffering she has gone through for her husband. He reveals to her his orders, and she, feeling life is worthless if Posthumus believes her to be an adultress, pleads with Pisanio: "I draw the sword myself. Take it, and hit/ The innocent mansion of my love, my heart." . . .


IMOGEN
. . . Where's thy knife?
Thou art too slow to do thy master's bidding
When I desire it too.
PISANIO
O gracious lady,
Since I received command to do this business,
I have not slept one wink.
IMOGEN
Do't and to bed then.
PISANO
I'll wake mine eyeballs out first.