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Arv. One sand another
Not more resembles : That sweet rosy lad,
Who died, and was Fidele:—What think you ?
Gui. The same dead thing alive.
Bel. Peace, peace ! see further; he eyes us not; forbear;
Creatures may be alike; were't he, I am sure
He would have spoke to us.
Gui. But we saw him dead.
Bel. Be silent; let's see further.
Pis. It is my mistress :
[Aside. Since she is living, let the time run on, To good, or bad. [CYMBELINE and IMOGEN come forward.
Cym. Come, stand thou by our side:
Make thy demand aloud.—Sir [To Iach.), step you forth ;
Give answer to this boy, and do it freely ;
Or, by our greatness, and the grace of it,
Which is our honour, bitter torture shall
Winnow the truth from falsehood.-On, speak to him.
Imo. My boon is, that this gentleman may render
Of whom he had this ring.
Post. What's that to him?
[Aside. Cym. That diamond upon your finger, say, How came it yours?
Iach. Thou'lt torture me to leave unspoken that Which, to be spoke, would torture thee.
Cym. How! me ?
Tach. I am glad to be constrain'd to utter that which Torments me to conceal. By villany I got this ring; 'twas Leonatus' jewel : Whom thou didst banish; and (which more may grieve thee, As it doth me), a nobler Sir ne'er lived 'Twixt sky and ground. Wilt thou hear more, my lord ?
Cym. All that belongs to this.
Iach. That paragon, thy daughter, -
For whom my heart drops blood, and my false spirits
Quail to remember,--Give me leave; I faint.
Cym. My daughter! what of her ? Renew thy strength :
I had rather thou shouldst live while nature will,
Than die ere I hear more: strive, man, and speak.
Iach. Upon a time (unhappy was the clock
That struck the hour!), it was in Rome (accursed
The mansion where !), 'twas at a feast (O’would,
Our viands had been poison'd! or at least,
Those which I heaved to head !), the good' Posthumus
(What should I say ? he was too good to be
Where ill men were; and was the best of all
Amongst the rar'st of good ones), sitting sadly,'
Hearing us praise our loves of Italy
For beauty that made barren the swelld boast
Of him that best could speak : for feature, laming
The shrine of Venus, or straight-pight Minerva,
Postures beyond brief nature; for condition,
A shop of all the qualities that man
Loves woman for; besides, that hook of wiving, !
Fairness which strikes the eye :
Cym. I stand on fire:
Come to the matter.
Iach. All too soon I shall,
Unless thou wouldst grieve quickly.-This Posthumus
(Most like a noble lord in love, and one
That had a royal lover) took his hint;
And not dispraising whom he praised (therein
He was as calm as virtue), he began
His mistress' picture;. which by his tongue being made,
And then a mind put in't, either our brags
Were crack'd of kitchen trulls, or his description
Proved us unspeaking sots.
Cym. Nay, nay, to the purpose.
Iach. Your daughter's chastity—there it begins.
He spake of her as* Dian had hot dreams,
And she alone were cold; Whereat, I, wretch!
Made scruple of his praise; and wager'd with him
Pieces of gold, 'gainst this which then he wore
Upon his honour'd finger, to attain
In suit the place of his bed, and win this ring
By hers and mine adultery : he, true knight,
No lesser of her honour confident
Than I did truly find her, stakes this ring;
And would so, had it been a carbuncle
Of Phoebus' wheel; and might so safely, had it
Been all the worth of his car. Away to Britain
Post I in this design: Well may you, Sir,
Remember me at court, where I was taught
Of your chaste daughter the wide difference
"Twixt amorous and villanous. Being thus quench'd
Of hope, not longing, mine Italian brain
'Gan in your duller Britain operate
Most vilely; for my 'vantage, excellent;
And, to be brief, my practice so prevail'd,
That I return'd with similar proof enough
To make the noble Leonatus mad,
By wounding his belief in her renown
With tokens thus, and thus; averring notes
Of chamber-hanging, pictures, this her bracelet
(0, cunning, how I got it!), nay, some marks
Of secret on her person, that he could not
But think her bond of chastity quite crack'd,
I having ta’en the forseit. Whereupon,-
Methinks, I see him now,
Post. Ay, so thou dost,
Italian fiend !-Ah me, most credulous fool,
Egregious murderer, thief, anything
That's due to all the villains past, in being,
To come !-0, 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 callid Posthumus Leonatus; and
Be villany less than 'twas! O Imogen!
My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen,
Imo. Peace, my lord; hear, hear-
Post, Shall's have a play of this? Thou scornful page,
There lie thy part.
[Striking her : she falls.
Pis. O gentlemen, help, help
Mine and your mistress :-0, my lord Posthumus !
You ne'er killed Imogen till now:-Help, help!
Mine honour'd lady!
Cym. Does the world go round?
Post. How come these staggers on me?
Pis. Wake, my mistress !
Cym. If this be so, the gods do mean to strike me
To death with mortal joy.
Pis. How fares my mistress ?
Imo. O, get thee from my sight;
Thou gav'st me poison : dangerous fellow, hence !
Breathe not where princes are.
Cym. The tune of Imogen !
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.
Cym. New matter still ?
Imo. It poison'd me.
Cor. 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 a cordial, she is served
As I would serve a rat.
Cym. What's this, Cornelius ?
Cor. The queen, Sir, very oft importuned 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?
Imo. Most like I did, for I was dead.
Bel. My boys,
There was our error.
Gui. This is sure, Fidele.
Imo. Why did you throw your wedded lady from you ?
Think, that you are upon a rock; and now
Throw me again.
[Embracing him. Post. Hang there like fruit, my soul, Till the tree die!
Cym. How now, my flesh, my child ?
What, mak'st thou me a dullard in this act ?
Wilt thou not speak to me?
Imo. Your blessing, Sir.
[Kneeling. Bel. Though you did love this youth, I blame ye not; You had a motive fort. [To GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS.
Cym. My tears that fall,
Prove holy water on thee! Imogen,
Thy mother's dead.
Imo. I am sorry fort, my lord.
Cym. 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.
Pis. 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 feign’d 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 inforced 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.
Gui. Let me end the story:
I slew him there.
Cym. Marry, the gods forfend! *
I would not thy good deeds should from my lips
Pluck a hard sentence: pr’ythee, valiant youth,
Gui. I have spoke it, and I did it.
Cym. He was a prince.
Gui. A most uncivil 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 roar so to me; I cut off 's head;
And am right glad, he is not standing here
To tell this tale of mine.
Cym. I am sorry for thee:
By thine own tongue thou art condemn'd, and must
Endure our law : Thou art dead.
Imo. That headless man
I thought had been my lord.
Cym. Bind the offender,
And take him from our presence.
Bel. 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.- Let his arms alone; [To the Guard.
They were not born for bondage.
Cym. Why, old soldier,
Wilt thou undo the worth thou art unpaid for,
By tasting of our wrath ? How of descent
As good as we ?
Arv. In that he spake too far.
Cym. And thou shalt die for't.
Bel. We will die all three :
But I will prove, that two of us 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.
Arv. Your danger is
Gui. And our good his.
Bel. Have at it then.-
By leave;-Thou hadst, great king, a subject, who
Was called Belarius.
Cym. What of him ? he is
A banish'd traitor.
Bel. He it is that hath
Assumed this age: indeed, a banish'd man;
I know not how, a traitor.
Cym. Take him hence;
The whole world shall not save him.
Bel. Not too hot:
First pay me for the nursing of thy sons;
And let it be confiscate, all, so soon
As I have received it.
Cym. Nursing of my sons ?
Bel. 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.
Cym. How, my issue ?
Bel. 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
* 1. e. your caprice was my only offence.