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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
To death, or to dishonour;
A Wood near Milford Haven.
Enter Pisanio and Imogen.
Imog. Thou told'st me, when we came from horse,
Was near at hand.—
Where is Posthumus? What is in thy mind,
That makes thee stare thus ?
One, but painted thus,
Would be interpreted a thing perplex'd
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
May take off some extremity, which, to read,
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;
What cheer, madam?
Imog. False to his bed! What is it, to be false? To lie in watch there, and to think on him?
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,
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,
I draw the sword myself: take it; and hit
Pisanio. Hence, vile instrument!
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,
Be stomachers to my heart.
The lamb entreats the butcher: Where's thy knife?
Pisanio. Oh, gracious lady,
Since I received command to do this business,
Imog. Do't, and to bed then.
Pisanio. I'll wake mine eye-balls blind first.
Didst undertake it?
Why hast thou gone so far,
To be unbent, when thou hast ta'en thy stand,
Pisanio. But to win time
To lose so bad employment: in the which,
Imog. Talk thy tongue weary; speak:
I have heard, I am a strumpet; and mine ear,
Pisanio. It cannot be,
But that my master is abus'd:
Some villain, ay, and singular in his art,
Pisanio. No, on my life.—
I'll give but notice you are dead, and send him
And that will well confirm it.
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?
There's livers out of Britain.
You think of other place. The ambassador,
You should tread a course
Pretty, and full of view: yea, haply, near
Imog. O, for such means!
Though peril to my modesty, not death on't,
Pisanio. Well, then here's the point:
Forethinking this, I have already fit
'Tis in my cloakbag,) doublet, hat, hose, all
From youth of such a season, 'fore noble Lucius
Wherein you are happy, (which you'll make him know,
Imog. Thou art all the comfort