Britain. Before CYMBELINE'S palace.

[Enter CLOTEN and the two LORDS.]


Was there ever man had such luck! When I kiss'd the jack,

upon an up-cast to be hit away! I had a hundred pound on't; and

then a whoreson jackanapes must take me up for swearing, as if I

borrowed mine oaths of him and might not spend them at my



What got he by that? You have broke his pate with your bowl.



If his wit had been like him that broke it, it would have run all



When a gentleman is dispos'd to swear, it is not for any

standers-by to curtail his oaths, ha?


No, my lord;


nor crop the ears of them.


Whoreson dog! I give him satisfaction? Would he had been one of

my rank!



To have smelt like a fool.


I am not vex'd more at anything in the earth; a pox on't! I had

rather not be so noble as I am. They dare not fight with me,

because of the Queen my mother. Every Jack-slave hath his

bellyful of fighting, and I must go up and down like a cock

that nobody can match.



You are cock and capon too; and you crow, cock, with your comb



Sayest thou?


It is not fit your lordship should undertake every companion that

you give offence to.


No, I know that; but it is fit I should commit offence to my



Ay, it is fit for your lordship only.


Why, so I say.


Did you hear of a stranger that's come to court to-night?


A stranger, and I not known on't!



He's a strange fellow himself, and knows it not.


There's an Italian come; and, 'tis thought, one of Leonatus'



Leonatus! a banish'd rascal; and he's another, whatsoever he be.

Who told you of this stranger?


One of your lordship's pages.


Is it fit I went to look upon him? Is there no derogation in't?


You cannot derogate, my lord.


Not easily, I think.



You are a fool granted; therefore your issues, being foolish, do

not derogate.


Come, I'll go see this Italian. What I have lost to-day at bowls

I'll win to-night of him. Come, go.


I'll attend your lordship.


That such a crafty devil as is his mother

Should yield the world this ass! A woman that

Bears all down with her brain; and this her son

Cannot take two from twenty, for his heart,

And leave eighteen. Alas, poor princess,

Thou divine Imogen, what thou endur'st,

Betwixt a father by thy step-dame govern'd,

A mother hourly coining plots, a wooer

More hateful than the foul expulsion is

Of thy dear husband! Then that horrid act

Of the divorce he'd make! The heavens hold firm

The walls of thy dear honour, keep unshak'd

That temple, thy fair mind, that thou mayst stand

To enjoy thy banish'd lord and this great land!



IMOGEN'S bedchamber in CYMBELINE'S palace:

a trunk in one corner of it.

[IMOGEN in bed [reading]; a LADY [attending.]]


Who's there? My woman Helen?


Please you, madam.


What hour is it?


Almost midnight, madam.


I have read three hours then. Mine eyes are weak.

Fold down the leaf where I have left. To bed.

Take not away the taper, leave it burning;

And if thou canst awake by four o' the clock,

I prithee, call me. Sleep hath seiz'd me wholly.

[Exit LADY.]

To your protection I commend me, gods.

From fairies and the tempters of the night

Guard me, beseech ye.

[Sleeps. IACHIMO comes from the trunk.]


The crickets sing, and man's o'erlabour'd sense

Repairs itself by rest. Our Tarquin thus

Did softly press the rushes, ere he waken'd

The chastity he wounded. Cytherea!

How bravely thou becom'st thy bed, fresh lily,

And whiter than the sheets! That I might touch!

But kiss one kiss! Rubies unparagon'd,

How dearly they do't! 'Tis her breathing that

Perfumes the chamber thus. The flame o' the taper

Bows toward her, and would under-peep her lids

To see the enclosed lights, now canopied

Under these windows white and azure, lac'd

With blue of heaven's own tinct. But my design,

To note the chamber. I will write all down:

Such and such pictures; there the window; such

The adornment of her bed; the arras; figures,

Why, such and such; and the contents o' the story.

Ah, but some natural notes about her body,

Above ten thousand meaner moveables

Would testify, to enrich mine inventory.

O sleep, thou ape of death, lie dull upon her!

And be her sense but as a monument,

Thus in a chapel lying! Come off, come off!

[Taking off her bracelet.]

As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard!

'Tis mine; and this will witness outwardly,

As strongly as the conscience does within,

To the madding of her lord. On her left breast

A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops

I' the bottom of a cowslip. Here's a voucher,

Stronger than ever law could make; this secret

Will force him think I have pick'd the lock and ta'en

The treasure of her honour. No more. To what end?

Why should I write this down, that's riveted,

Screw'd to my memory? She hath been reading late

The tale of Tereus; here the leaf's turn'd down

Where Philomel gave up. I have enough.

To the trunk again, and shut the spring of it.

Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning

May bare the raven's eye! I lodge in fear;

Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here.

[Clock strikes.]

One, two, three; time, time!

[Goes into the trunk.]


An ante-chamber adjoining IMOGEN'S apartments.

[Enter CLOTEN and LORDS.]


Your lordship is the most patient man in loss, the most

coldest that ever turn'd up ace.


It would make any man cold to lose.


But not every man patient after the noble temper of your


You are most hot and furious when you win.


Winning will put any man into courage. If I could get this


Imogen, I should have gold enough. It's almost morning, is't not?


Day, my lord.


I would this music would come. I am advised to give her music o'

mornings; they say it will penetrate.

[Enter Musicians.]

Come on; tune. If you can penetrate her with your fingering, so;

we'll try with tongue too. If none will do, let her remain; but

I'll never give o'er. First, a very excellent good-conceited thing;

after, a wonderful sweet air, with admirable rich words to it; and

then let her consider.


Hark, hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,

And Phoebus gins arise

His steeds to water at those springs

On chalic'd flowers that lies;

And winking Mary-buds begin

To ope their golden eyes;

With every thing that pretty is,

My lady sweet, arise,

Arise, arise.

So, get you gone. If this penetrate, I will consider your music

the better; if it do not, it is a vice in her ears, which

horse-hairs and calves'-guts, nor the voice of unpaved eunuch

to boot, can never amend.

[Exeunt Musicians.]



Here comes the King.


I am glad I was up so late, for that's the reason I was up so


He cannot choose but take this service I have done fatherly.

--Good morrow to your Majesty and to my gracious mother!


Attend you here the door of our stern daughter?

Will she not forth?


I have assail'd her with musics, but she vouchsafes no notice.


The exile of her minion is too new;

She hath not yet forgot him. Some more time

Must wear the print of his remembrance on't,

And then she's yours.


You are most bound to the King,

Who lets go by no vantages that may

Prefer you to his daughter. Frame yourself

To orderly soliciting, and be friended

With aptness of the season; make denials

Increase your services; so seem as if

You were inspir'd to do those duties which

You tender to her; that you in all obey her,

Save when command to your dismission tends,

And therein you are senseless.


Senseless? Not so.

[Enter a MESSENGER.]


So like you, sir, ambassadors from Rome;

The one is Caius Lucius.


A worthy fellow,

Albeit he comes on angry purpose now;

But that's no fault of his. We must receive him

According to the honour of his sender;

And towards himself, his goodness forespent on us,

We must extend our notice. Our dear son,

When you have given good morning to your mistress,

Attend the Queen and us; we shall have need

To employ you towards this Roman. Come, our queen.

[Exeunt all but CLOTEN.]


If she be up, I'll speak with her; if not,

Let her lie still and dream. By your leave, ho!


I know her women are about her; what

If I do line one of their hands? 'Tis gold

Which buys admittance; oft it doth; yea, and makes

Diana's rangers false themselves, yield up

Their deer to the stand o' the stealer; and 'tis gold

Which makes the true man kill'd and saves the thief,

Nay, sometime hangs both thief and true man. What

Can it not do and undo? I will make

One of her women lawyer to me, for

I yet not understand the case myself.

By your leave.


[Enter a LADY.]


Who's there that knocks?


A gentleman.


No more?


Yes, and a gentlewoman's son.


That's more

Than some, whose tailors are as dear as yours,

Can justly boast of. What's your lordship's pleasure?


Your lady's person. Is she ready?



To keep her chamber.


There is gold for you; sell me your good report.


How! my good name? Or to report of you

What I shall think is good?--The Princess!

[Enter IMOGEN.]


Good morrow, fairest. Sister, your sweet hand.

[Exit LADY.]


Good morrow, sir. You lay out too much pains

For purchasing but trouble. The thanks I give

Is telling you that I am poor of thanks,

And scarce can spare them.


Still, I swear I love you.


If you but said so, 'twere as deep with me.

If you swear still, your recompense is still

That I regard it not.


This is no answer.


But that you shall not say I yield being silent,

I would not speak. I pray you, spare me. Faith,

I shall unfold equal discourtesy

To your best kindness. One of your great knowing

Should learn, being taught, forbearance.


To leave you in your madness, 'twere my sin. I will not.


Fools are not mad folks.


Do you call me fool?


As I am mad, I do.

If you'll be patient, I'll no more be mad;

That cures us both. I am much sorry, sir,

You put me to forget a lady's manners,

By being so verbal; and learn now, for all,

That I, which know my heart, do here pronounce,

By the very truth of it, I care not for you,

And am so near the lack of charity

To accuse myself I hate you; which I had rather

You felt than make't my boast.


You sin against

Obedience, which you owe your father. For

The contract you pretend with that base wretch,

One bred of alms and foster'd with cold dishes,

With scraps o' the court, it is no contract, none;

And though it be allowed in meaner parties--

Yet who than he more mean?--to knit their souls--

On whom there is no more dependency

But brats and beggary,--in self-figur'd knot,

Yet you are curb'd from that enlargement by

The consequence o' the crown, and must not foil

The precious note of it with a base slave,

A hilding for a livery, a squire's cloth,

A pantler, not so eminent!


Profane fellow!

Wert thou the son of Jupiter and no more

But what thou art besides, thou wert too base

To be his groom. Thou wert dignified enough,

Even to the point of envy, if 'twere made

Comparative for your virtues, to be styl'd

The under-hangman of his kingdom, and hated

For being preferr'd so well.


The south-fog rot him!


He never can meet more mischance than come

To be but nam'd of thee. His mean'st garment

That ever hath but clipp'd his body, is dearer

In my respect than all the hairs above thee,

Were they all made such men. How now?

[Missing the bracelet.]


[Enter PISANIO.]


"His garments!" Now the devil--


To Dorothy my woman hie thee presently--


"His garment!"


I am sprited with a fool,

Frighted, and ang'red worse. Go bid my woman

Search for a jewel that too casually

Hath left mine arm. It was thy master's. Shrew me,

If I would lose it for a revenue

Of any king's in Europe. I do think

I saw't this morning; confident I am

Last night 'twas on mine arm; I kiss'd it.

I hope it be not gone to tell my lord

That I kiss aught but he.


'Twill not be lost.


I hope so; go and search.



You have abus'd me

"His meanest garment!"


Ay, I said so, sir.

If you will make't an action, call witness to't.


I will inform your father.


Your mother too.

She's my good lady, and will conceive, I hope,

But the worst of me. So, I leave you, sir,

To the worst of discontent.



I'll be reveng'd.

"His meanest garment!" Well.



Rome. PHILARIO'S house.



Fear it not, sir; I would I were so sure

To win the King as I am bold her honour

Will remain hers.


What means do you make to him?


Not any, but abide the change of time,

Quake in the present winter's state, and wish

That warmer days would come. In these fear'd hopes,

I barely gratify your love; they failing,

I must die much your debtor.


Your very goodness and your company

O'erpays all I can do. By this, your king

Hath heard of great Augustus. Caius Lucius

Will do's commission throughly; and I think

He'll grant the tribute, send the arrearages,

Or look upon our Romans, whose remembrance

Is yet fresh in their grief.


I do believe,

Statist though I am none, nor like to be,

That this will prove a war; and you shall hear

The legions now in Gallia sooner landed

In our not-fearing Britain than have tidings

Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen

Are men more order'd than when Julius Caesar

Smil'd at their lack of skill, but found their courage

Worthy his frowning at. Their discipline,

Now wing-led with their courages, will make known

To their approvers they are people such

That mend upon the world.

[Enter IACHIMO.]


See! Iachimo!


The swiftest harts have posted you by land;

And winds of all the comers kiss'd your sails,

To make your vessel nimble.


Welcome, sir.


I hope the briefness of your answer made

The speediness of your return.


Your lady

Is one of the fairest that I have look'd upon.


And therewithal the best; or let her beauty

Look through a casement to allure false hearts

And be false with them.


Here are letters for you.


Their tenour good, I trust.


'Tis very like.


Was Caius Lucius in the Britain court

When you were there?


He was expected then,

But not approach'd.


All is well yet.

Sparkles this stone as it was wont, or is't not

Too dull for your good wearing?


If I have lost it,

I should have lost the worth of it in gold.

I'll make a journey twice as far, to enjoy

A second night of such sweet shortness which

Was mine in Britain; for the ring is won.


The stone's too hard to come by.


Not a whit,

Your lady being so easy.


Make not, sir,

Your loss your sport. I hope you know that we

Must not continue friends.


Good sir, we must,

If you keep covenant. Had I not brought

The knowledge of your mistress home, I grant

We were to question farther; but I now

Profess myself the winner of her honour,

Together with your ring; and not the wronger

Of her or you, having proceeded but

By both your wills.


If you can make't apparent

That you have tasted her in bed, my hand

And ring is yours; if not, the foul opinion

You had of her pure honour gains or loses

Your sword or mine, or masterless leaves both

To who shall find them.


Sir, my circumstances,

Being so near the truth as I will make them,

Must first induce you to believe; whose strength

I will confirm with oath, which, I doubt not,

You'll give me leave to spare, when you shall find

You need it not.




First, her bedchamber,--

Where, I confess, I slept not, but profess

Had that was well worth watching--it was hang'd

With tapestry of silk and silver; the story

Proud Cleopatra, when she met her Roman,

And Cydnus swell'd above the banks, or for

The press of boats or pride; a piece of work

So bravely done, so rich, that it did strive

In workmanship and value; which I wonder'd

Could be so rarely and exactly wrought,

Since the true life on't was--


This is true;

And this you might have heard of here, by me,

Or by some other.


More particulars

Must justify my knowledge.


So they must,

Or do your honour injury.


The chimney

Is south the chamber, and the chimney-piece

Chaste Dian bathing. Never saw I figures

So likely to report themselves. The cutter

Was as another Nature, dumb; outwent her,

Motion and breath left out.


This is a thing

Which you might from relation likewise reap,

Being, as it is, much spoke of.


The roof o' the chamber

With golden cherubins is fretted. Her andirons--

I had forgot them--were two winking Cupids

Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely

Depending on their brands.


This is her honour!

Let it be granted you have seen all this--and praise

Be given to your remembrance--the description

Of what is in her chamber nothing saves

The wager you have laid.


Then, if you can,

[Showing the bracelet.]

Be pale. I beg but leave to air this jewel; see!

And now 'tis up again. It must be married

To that your diamond; I'll keep them.



Once more let me behold it. Is it that

Which I left with her?


Sir--I thank her--that.

She stripp'd it from her arm. I see her yet.

Her pretty action did outsell her gift,

And yet enrich'd it too. She gave it me, and said

She priz'd it once.


May be she pluck'd it off

To send it me.


She writes so to you, doth she?


O, no, no, no! 'tis true. Here, take this too;

[Gives the ring.]

It is a basilisk unto mine eye,

Kills me to look on't. Let there be no honour

Where there is beauty; truth, where semblance; love

Where there's another man. The vows of women

Of no more bondage, be to where they are made,

Than they are to their virtues, which is nothing.

O, above measure false!


Have patience, sir,

And take your ring again; 'tis not yet won.

It may be probable she lost it, or

Who knows if one her women, being corrupted,

Hath stolen it from her?


Very true;

And so, I hope, he came by't. Back my ring.

Render to me some corporal sign about her,

More evident than this; for this was stolen.


By Jupiter, I had it from her arm.


Hark you, he swears; by Jupiter he swears.

'Tis true--nay, keep the ring--'tis true. I am sure

She would not lose it. Her attendants are

All sworn and honourable. They induced to steal it!

And by a stranger! No, he hath enjoy'd her.

The cognizance of her incontinency

Is this. She hath bought the name of whore thus dearly.

There, take thy hire; and all the fiends of hell

Divide themselves between you!


Sir, be patient.

This is not strong enough to be believ'd

Of one persuaded well of--


Never talk on't;

She hath been colted by him.


If you seek

For further satisfying, under her breast--

Worthy the pressing--lies a mole, right proud

Of that most delicate lodging. By my life,

I kiss'd it; and it gave me present hunger

To feed again, though full. You do remember

This stain upon her?


Ay, and it doth confirm

Another stain, as big as hell can hold,

Were there no more but it.


Will you hear more?


Spare your arithmetic; never count the turns;

Once, and a million!


I'll be sworn--


No swearing.

If you will swear you have not done't, you lie;

And I will kill thee, if thou dost deny

Thou'st made me cuckold.


I'll deny nothing.


O, that I had her here, to tear her limbmeal!

I will go there and do't, i' the court, before

Her father. I'll do something--



Quite besides

The government of patience! You have won.

Let's follow him, and pervert the present wrath

He hath against himself.


With all my heart.



Another room in PHILARIO'S house.



Is there no way for men to be, but women

Must be half-workers? We are all bastards;

And that most venerable man which I

Did call my father, was I know not where

When I was stamp'd. Some coiner with his tools

Made me a counterfeit; yet my mother seem'd

The Dian of that time. So doth my wife

The nonpareil of this. O, vengeance, vengeance!

Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd

And pray'd me oft forbearance; did it with

A pudency so rosy, the sweet view on't

Might well have warm'd old Saturn; that I thought her

As chaste as unsunn'd snow. O, all the devils!

This yellow Iachimo, in an hour,--was't not?--

Or less,--at first?--perchance he spoke not, but,

Like a full-acorn'd boar, a German one,

Cried "O!" and mounted; found no opposition

But what he look'd for should oppose and she

Should from encounter guard. Could I find out

The woman's part in me! For there's no motion

That tends to vice in man, but I affirm

It is the woman's part; be it lying, note it,

The woman's; flattering, hers; deceiving, hers;

Lust and rank thoughts, hers, hers; revenges, hers;

Ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain,

Nice longing, slanders, mutability,

All faults that may be nam'd, nay, that hell knows,

Why, hers, in part or all; but rather, all.

For even to vice

They are not constant, but are changing still

One vice, but of a minute old, for one

Not half so old as that. I'll write against them,

Detest them, curse them; yet 'tis greater skill

In a true hate, to pray they have their will.

The very devils cannot plague them better.