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Queen. Son, I say, follow the king.

Cloten. That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant,

I have not seen these two days.

Queen. Go, look after.—

[Exit Cloten. Pisanio, thou that stand'st so for Posthumus!— He hath a drug of mine: I pray, his absence Proceed by swallowing that; for he believes It is a thing most precious. But for her, Where is she gone? Haply, despair hath seized her; Or, wing'd with fervour of her love, she's flown To her desir'd Posthumus: Gone she is

and my


To death, or to dishonour;
Can make good use of either: She being down,
I have the placing of the British crown.



A Wood near Milford Haven.

Enter Pisanio and Imogen.

Imog. Thou told'st me, when we came from horse,

the place

Was near at hand.—

Pisanio! Man!

Where is Posthumus? What is in thy mind,

That makes thee stare thus ?

One, but painted thus,

Would be interpreted a thing perplex'd

Beyond self-explication.

What's the matter?

Why tender'st thou that paper to me?

If it be summer news,

Smile to't before: if winterly, thou need'st

But keep that countenance still-My husband's hand!

That drug-damn'd Italy hath out-craftied him,

And he's at some hard point.Speak, man; thy tongue

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May take off some extremity, which, to read,
Would be even mortal to me.

Pisanio. Please you, read ;



shall find me, wretched man, a thing The most disdain'd of fortune.

Imog. [Reads.] Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath played the strumpet in my bed; the testimonies whereof lie bleeding in me. I speak not out of weak surmises; but from proof as strong as my grief, and as certain as I expect my revenge. That part, thou, Pisanio, must act for me, if thy faith be not tainted with the breach of hers. Let thine own hands take away her life: I shall give thee opportunities at Milford Haven: she hath my letter for the purpose: where, if thou fear to strike, and to make me certain it is done, thou art the pander to her dishonour, and equally to me disloyal.

Pisanio. What shall I need to draw my sword? the


Hath cut her throat already.—No, 'tis slander;
Whose edge is sharper than the sword; whose tongue
Outvenoms all the worms of Nile; whose breath
Rides on the posting winds, and doth belie
All corners of the world.—

What cheer, madam?

Imog. False to his bed! What is it, to be false? To lie in watch there, and to think on him?

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To weep 'twixt clock and clock? If sleep charge na


To break it with a fearful dream of him,

And cry myself awake? That's false to his bed,
Is it?

Pisanio. Alas, good lady!

Imog. I false? Thy conscience witness:—Iachimo, Thou didst accuse him of incontinency;

Thou then look'dst like a villain; now, methinks, Thy favour's good enough. Some jay of Italy, Whose mother was her painting, hath betray'd him ; Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion;

I must be ripp'd:—to pieces with me!

Oh, Men's vows are women's traitors! All good seeming, By thy revolt, Oh, husband, shall be thought Put on for villany.

Pisanio. Good madam, hear me.

Imog. Come, fellow, be thou honest;

Do thou thy master's bidding: when thou seest him,
A little witness my obedience: Look!

I draw the sword myself: take it; and hit
The innocent mansion of my love, my heart:
Fear not; 'tis empty of all things, but grief:
Thy master is not there; who was, indeed,
The riches of it: Do his bidding; strike.
Thou may'st be valiant in a better cause;
But now thou seem'st a coward.

Pisanio. Hence, vile instrument!
Thou shalt not damn my hand.
Imog. Why, I must die;

And if I do not by thy hand, thou art

No servant of thy master's: Against self-slaughter There is a prohibition so divine,

That cravens my weak hand. Come, here's my heart;

Something's afore't:—Soft, soft; we'll no defence;— What is here?

[Taking out Letters.

The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus,

All turn'd to heresy? Away, away,
Corrupters of my faith! you shall no more

Be stomachers to my heart.

'Pr'ythee, dispatch:

The lamb entreats the butcher: Where's thy knife?
Thou art too slow to do thy master's bidding,
When I desire it too.

Pisanio. Oh, gracious lady,

Since I received command to do this business,
I have not slept one wink.

Imog. Do't, and to bed then.

Pisanio. I'll wake mine eye-balls blind first.
Imog. Wherefore then

Didst undertake it?

Why hast thou gone so far,

To be unbent, when thou hast ta'en thy stand,
The elected deer before thee?

Pisanio. But to win time

To lose so bad employment: in the which,
I have consider'd of a course: Good lady,
Hear me with patience.

Imog. Talk thy tongue weary; speak:

I have heard, I am a strumpet; and mine ear,
Therein false struck, can take no greater wound,
Nor tent to bottom that. But speak.

Pisanio. It cannot be,

But that my master is abus'd:

Some villain, ay, and singular in his art,
Hath done you both this cursed injury.
Imog. Some Roman courtezan.

Pisanio. No, on my life.—

I'll give but notice you are dead, and send him
Some bloody sign of it; for 'tis commanded
I should do so: You shall be miss'd at court,

And that will well confirm it.

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Imog. Why, good fellow,

What shall I do the while? Where bide? How live? Or in my life what comfort, when I am

Dead to my


Pisanio. If you'll back to the court,——

Imog. No court, no father.

Pisanio. If not at court,

Then not in Britain must you bide.—Where then?
Imog. Hath Britain all the sun that shines ?
'Pr'ythee, think 、),

There's livers out of Britain.
Pisanio. I am most glad

You think of other place. The ambassador,
Lucius, the Roman, comes to Milford Haven
To-morrow: now, if you could wear a mind,
Dark as your fortune is,

You should tread a course


Pretty, and full of view: yea, haply, near
The residence of Posthumus; so nigh, at least,
That though his actions were not visible, yet
Report should render him hourly to your ear,
As truly as he moves.

Imog. O, for such means!

Though peril to my modesty, not death on't,
I would adventure.

Pisanio. Well, then here's the point:
You must forget to be a woman; change
Command into obedience;

Forethinking this, I have already fit

'Tis in my cloakbag,) doublet, hat, hose, all
That answer to them: Would you, in their serving,
And with what imitation you can borrow

From youth of such a season, 'fore noble Lucius
Present yourself, desire his service, tell him

Wherein you are happy, (which you'll make him know,
If that his head have ear in music,) doubtless,
With joy he will embrace you; for he's honourable,
And, doubling that, most holy. Your means abroad
You have me, rich: and I will never fail
Beginning, nor supplyment.

Imog. Thou art all the comfort
The gods will diet me with.
This attempt

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