by William Shakespeare [Tudor edition]
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Ay, so thou dost, Italian fiend! Ay me, most credulous fool, Egregious murderer, thief, anything That's due to all the villains past, in being, To come! O, give me cord, or knife, or poison, Some upright justicer! Thou, King, send out For torturers ingenious; it is I That all the abhorred things o' the earth amend By being worse than they. I am Posthumus, That kill'd thy daughter:—villain-like, I lie— That caused a lesser villain than myself, A sacrilegious thief, to do't. The temple Of Virtue was she; yea, and she herself. Spit, and throw stones, cast mire upon me, set The dogs o' the street to bay me; every villain Be call'd Posthumus Leonatus; and Be villainy less than 'twas! O Imogen My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen, Imogen, Imogen!

IMOGEN. Peace, my lord; hear, hear—

POSTHUMUS. Shall's have a play of this? Thou scornful page, There lies thy part.

[Striking her; she falls.]

PISANIO. O gentlemen, help Mine and your mistress! O, my lord Posthumus! You ne'er kill'd Imogen till now. Help, help! Mine honour'd lady!

CYMBELINE. Does the world go round?

POSTHUMUS. How comes these staggers on me?

PISANIO. Wake, my mistress!

CYMBELINE. If this be so, the gods do mean to strike me To death with mortal joy.

PISANIO. How fares my mistress?

IMOGEN. O, get thee from my sight; Thou gav'st me poison. Dangerous fellow, hence! Breathe not where princes are.

CYMBELINE. The tune of Imogen!

PISANIO. Lady, The gods throw stones of sulphur on me, if That box I gave you was not thought by me A precious thing! I had it from the Queen.

CYMBELINE. New matter still?

IMOGEN. It poison'd me.

CORNELIUS. O gods! I left out one thing which the Queen confess'd, Which must approve thee honest. "If Pisanio Have," said she "given his mistress that confection Which I gave him for cordial, she is serv'd As I would serve a rat."

CYMBELINE. What's this, Cornelius?

CORNELIUS. The Queen, sir, very oft importun'd me To temper poisons for her, still pretending The satisfaction of her knowledge only In killing creatures vile, as cats and dogs, Of no esteem. I, dreading that her purpose Was of more danger, did compound for her A certain stuff, which, being ta'en, would cease The present power of life, but in short time All offices of nature should again Do their due functions. Have you ta'en of it?

IMOGEN. Most like I did, for I was dead.

BELARIUS. My boys, There was our error.

GUIDERIUS. This is, sure, Fidele.

IMOGEN. Why did you throw your wedded lady from you? Think that you are upon a rock, and now Throw me again.

[Embracing him.]

POSTHUMUS. Hang there like fruit, my soul, Till the tree die!

CYMBELINE. How now, my flesh, my child! What, mak'st thou me a dullard in this act? Wilt thou not speak to me?



Your blessing, sir.



Though you did love this youth, I blame ye not; You had a motive for't.

CYMBELINE. My tears that fall Prove holy water on thee! Imogen, Thy mother's dead.

IMOGEN. I am sorry for't, my lord.

CYMBELINE. O, she was naught; and long of her it was That we meet here so strangely; but her son Is gone, we know not how nor where.

PISANIO. My lord, Now fear is from me, I'll speak troth. Lord Cloten, Upon my lady's missing, came to me With his sword drawn; foam'd at the mouth, and swore, If I discover'd not which way she was gone, It was my instant death. By accident, I had a feigned letter of my master's Then in my pocket, which directed him To seek her on the mountains near to Milford; Where, in a frenzy, in my master's garments, Which he enforc'd from me, away he posts With unchaste purpose, and with oath to violate My lady's honour. What became of him I further know not.

GUIDERIUS. Let me end the story: I slew him there.

CYMBELINE. Marry, the gods forfend! I would not thy good deeds should from my lips Pluck a hard sentence. Prithee, valiant youth, Deny't again.

GUIDERIUS. I have spoke it, and I did it.

CYMBELINE. He was a prince.

GUIDERIUS. A most incivil one. The wrongs he did me Were nothing prince-like; for he did provoke me With language that would make me spurn the sea, If it could so roar to me. I cut off's head; And am right glad he is not standing here To tell this tale of mine.

CYMBELINE. I am sorry for thee. By thine own tongue thou art condemn'd, and must Endure our law. Thou'rt dead.

IMOGEN. That headless man I thought had been my lord.

CYMBELINE. Bind the offender, And take him from our presence.

BELARIUS. Stay, sir King; This man is better than the man he slew, As well descended as thyself; and hath More of thee merited than a band of Clotens Had ever scar for.

[To the Guard.]

Let his arms alone; They were not born for bondage.

CYMBELINE. Why, old soldier, Wilt thou undo the worth thou art unpaid for, By tasting of our wrath? How of descent As good as we?

ARVIRAGUS. In that he spake too far.

CYMBELINE. And thou shalt die for't.

BELARIUS. We will die all three But I will prove that two on's are as good As I have given out him. My sons, I must For mine own part unfold a dangerous speech, Though, haply, well for you.

ARVIRAGUS. Your danger's ours.

GUIDERIUS. And our good his.

BELARIUS. Have at it then, by leave. Thou hadst, great King, a subject who Was call'd Belarius.

CYMBELINE. What of him? He is A banish'd traitor.

BELARIUS. He it is that hath Assum'd this age, indeed a banish'd man; I know not how a traitor.

CYMBELINE. Take him hence, The whole world shall not save him.

BELARIUS. Not too hot. First pay me for the nursing of thy sons; And let it be confiscate all so soon As I have receiv'd it.

CYMBELINE. Nursing of my sons!

BELARIUS. I am too blunt and saucy; here's my knee. Ere I arise, I will prefer my sons; Then spare not the old father. Mighty sir, These two young gentlemen, that call me father, And think they are my sons, are none of mine; They are the issue of your loins, my liege, And blood of your begetting.

CYMBELINE. How! my issue!

BELARIUS. So sure as you your father's. I, old Morgan, Am that Belarius whom you sometime banish'd. Your pleasure was my mere offence, my punishment Itself, and all my treason; that I suffer'd Was all the harm I did. These gentle princes— For such and so they are—these twenty years Have I train'd up. Those arts they have as Could put into them; my breeding was, sir, as Your Highness knows. Their nurse, Euriphile, Whom for the theft I wedded, stole these children. Upon my banishment I mov'd her to't, Having receiv'd the punishment before, For that which I did then. Beaten for loyalty Excited me to treason. Their dear loss, The more of you 'twas felt, the more it shap'd Unto my end of stealing them. But, gracious sir, Here are your sons again; and I must lose Two of the sweet'st companions in the world. The benediction of these covering heavens Fall on their heads like dew! for they are worthy To inlay heaven with stars.

CYMBELINE. Thou weep'st, and speak'st. The service that you three have done is more Unlike than this thou tell'st. I lost my children; If these be they, I know not how to wish A pair of worthier sons.

BELARIUS. Be pleas'd awhile. This gentleman, whom I call Polydore, Most worthy prince, as yours, is true Guiderius; This gentleman, my Cadwal, Arviragus, Your younger princely son. He, sir, was lapp'd In a most curious mantle, wrought by the hand Of his queen mother, which for more probation I can with ease produce.

CYMBELINE. Guiderius had Upon his neck a mole, a sanguine star; It was a mark of wonder.

BELARIUS. This is he, Who hath upon him still that natural stamp. It was wise Nature's end in the donation, To be his evidence now.

CYMBELINE. O, what, am I A mother to the birth of three? Ne'er mother Rejoic'd deliverance more. Blest pray you be, That, after this strange starting from your orbs, You may reign in them now! O Imogen, Thou hast lost by this a kingdom.

IMOGEN. No, my lord; I have got two worlds by 't. O my gentle brothers, Have we thus met? O, never say hereafter But I am truest speaker. You call'd me brother, When I was but your sister; I you brothers, When ye were so indeed.

CYMBELINE. Did you e'er meet?

ARVIRAGUS. Ay, my good lord.

GUIDERIUS. And at first meeting lov'd; Continu'd so, until we thought he died.

CORNELIUS. By the Queen's dram she swallow'd.

CYMBELINE. O rare instinct! When shall I hear all through? This fierce abridgment Hath to it circumstantial branches, which Distinction should be rich in. Where, how liv'd you? And when came you to serve our Roman captive? How parted with your brothers? How first met them? Why fled you from the court? and whither? These, And your three motives to the battle, with I know not how much more, should be demanded; And all the other by-dependencies, From chance to chance; but nor the time nor place Will serve our long inter'gatories. See, Posthumus anchors upon Imogen, And she, like harmless lightning, throws her eye On him, her brothers, me, her master, hitting Each object with a joy; the counterchange Is severally in all. Let's quit this ground, And smoke the temple with our sacrifices.


Thou art my brother; so we'll hold thee ever.

IMOGEN. You are my father too, and did relieve me, To see this gracious season.

CYMBELINE. All o'erjoy'd, Save these in bonds. Let them be joyful too, For they shall taste our comfort.

IMOGEN. My good master, I will yet do you service.

LUCIUS. Happy be you!

CYMBELINE. The forlorn soldier, that so nobly fought, He would have well becom'd this place, and grac'd The thankings of a king.

POSTHUMUS. I am, sir, The soldier that did company these three In poor beseeming; 'twas a fitment for The purpose I then follow'd. That I was he, Speak, Iachimo. I had you down and might Have made you finish.



I am down again; But now my heavy conscience sinks my knee, As then your force did. Take that life, beseech you, Which I so often owe; but your ring first, And here the bracelet of the truest princess That ever swore her faith.

POSTHUMUS. Kneel not to me. The power that I have on you is to spare you, The malice towards you to forgive you. Live, And deal with others better.

CYMBELINE. Nobly doom'd! We'll learn our freeness of a son-in-law; Pardon's the word to all.

ARVIRAGUS. You holp us, sir, As you did mean indeed to be our brother; Joy'd are we that you are.

POSTHUMUS. Your servant, Princes. Good my lord of Rome, Call forth your soothsayer. As I slept, methought Great Jupiter, upon his eagle back'd, Appear'd to me, with other spritely shows Of mine own kindred. When I wak'd, I found This label on my bosom; whose containing Is so from sense in hardness, that I can Make no collection of it. Let him show His skill in the construction.

LUCIUS. Philarmonus!

SOOTHSAYER. Here, my good lord.

LUCIUS. Read, and declare the meaning.



"Whenas a lion's whelp shall, to himself unknown, without seeking find, and be embrac'd by a piece of tender air; and when from a stately cedar shall be lopp'd branches, which, being dead many years, shall after revive, be jointed to the old stock, and freshly grow; then shall Posthumus end his miseries, Britain be fortunate and flourish in peace and plenty." Thou, Leonatus, art the lion's whelp; The fit and apt construction of thy name, Being leo-natus, doth import so much.


The piece of tender air, thy virtuous daughter, Which we call mollis aer; and mollis aer We term it mulier; which mulier I divine Is this most constant wife, who, even now Answering the letter of the oracle, Unknown to you, unsought, were clipp'd about With this most tender air.

CYMBELINE. This hath some seeming.

SOOTHSAYER. The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline, Personates thee; and thy lopp'd branches point Thy two sons forth; who, by Belarius stolen, For many years thought dead, are now reviv'd, To the majestic cedar join'd, whose issue Promises Britain peace and plenty.

CYMBELINE. Well; My peace we will begin. And, Caius Lucius, Although the victor, we submit to Caesar, And to the Roman empire, promising To pay our wonted tribute, from the which We were dissuaded by our wicked queen; Whom heavens, in justice, both on her and hers, Have laid most heavy hand.

SOOTHSAYER. The fingers of the powers above do tune The harmony of this peace. The vision Which I made known to Lucius, ere the stroke Of yet this scarce-cold battle, at this instant Is full accomplish'd; for the Roman eagle, From south to west on wing soaring aloft, Lessen'd herself, and in the beams o' the sun So vanish'd; which foreshow'd our princely eagle, The imperial Caesar, should again unite His favour with the radiant Cymbeline, Which shines here in the west.

CYMBELINE. Laud we the gods; And let our crooked smokes climb to their nostrils From our bless'd altars. Publish we this peace To all our subjects. Set we forward. Let A Roman and a British ensign wave Friendly together. So through Lud's town march; And in the temple of great Jupiter Our peace we'll ratify; seal it with feasts. Set on there! Never was a war did cease, Ere bloody hands were wash'd, with such a peace.



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