Page images

Cym. No tidings of him?

Pisanio. He hath been search'd among the dead and


But no trace of him.

Cym. To my grief, I am

The heir of his reward; which I will add


you, the liver, heart, and brain of Britain,

[To Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus. By whom, I grant, she lives: 'Tis now the time To ask of whence you are -report it.

Bel. Sir,

In Cambria are we born, and gentlemen:
Further to boast, were neither true nor modest,
Unless I add, we are honest.

Cym. Bow your knees:

Arise my knights o' the battle; I create you
Companions to our person, and will fit you
With dignities becoming your estates.

[Drums and Trumpets.

Enter Two Lords; Iachimo, Caius Lucius, Imo-
Gen, Roman Prisoners, in Chains; and Posthu-
Mus behind, guarded by British Soldiers.

Thou com'st not, Caius, now for tribute; that
Britons have raz'd out, though with the loss

Of many a bold one; whose kinsmen have made suit,
That their good souls may be appeas'd with slaughter
Of you their captives, which ourself have granted:
So, think of your estate.

Luc. Consider, sir, the chance of war; the day
Was yours by accident; had it gone
with us,

We should not, when the blood was cool, have threaten'd

Our prisoners with the sword. But, since the gods Will have it thus, that nothing but our lives

May be call'd ransom, let it come: sufficeth,

A Roman with a Roman's heart can suffer:
Augustus lives to think on't: And so much
For my peculiar care. This one thing only
I will entreat; my boy, a Briton born,
Let him be ransom'd: never master had
A page so kind, so duteous, diligent :
He hath done no Briton harm,

Though he hath serv'd a Roman: Save him, sir,
And spare no blood beside.

Cym. I have surely seen him;

His favour is familiar to me.

Boy, thou hast look'd thyself into my grace,
And art mine own. I know not why, nor where-

To say, live, boy: ne'er thank thy master; live:
And ask of Cymbeline what boon thou wilt,
Fitting my bounty, and thy state, I'll give it;
Yea, though thou do demand a prisoner,
The noblest ta'en.

[imogen looks at Iachimo. Know'st him thou look'st on? speak,

Wilt have him live? Is he thy kin? thy friend?
Imog. He is a Roman; no more kin to me,

Than I to your highness; who, being born your vassal,

Am something nearer.

Cym. Wherefore ey'st him so?

Imog. I'll tell you, sir, in private, if you please

To give me hearing.

Cym. Ay, with all my heart:

Walk with me; speak freely.

[cymbeline and Imogen walk aside.

Bel. Is not this boy reviv'd from death?
Arv. One sand another

Not more resembles :—That sweet rosy lad,
Who died, and was Fidele:—What think you?
Guid. The same dead thing alive.

Bel. Peace, peace! see further.

Pisanio. [Aside.] It is my mistress: 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, step you forth;

[To Iachimo.

Give answer to this boy, and do it freely;

Or, by our greatness,

Bitter torture shall

Winnow the truth from falsehood.—On, speak to him, Imog. My boon is, that this gentleman may render Of whom he had this ring.

Post. [Aside.] What's that to him ?

Cym. That diamond upon your finger, say,

How came it yours?

Iach. Thoul't torture me to leave unspoken that Which, to be spoke, would torture thee.

Cym. How! me?

Iach. 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 liv'd

Twixt sky and ground. Will you hear more, my lord?

Cym. All that belongs to this.

Iach. That paragon, thy daughter,—

tor 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.

Iach. Upon a time, (unhappy was the clock That struck the hour!) it was in Rome, (accurs'd The mansion where!) 'twas at a feast, (Oh, 'would Our viands had been poison'd! or, at least,

Those which I heav'd to head!) the good Posthu


Cym. Come to the matter.

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.

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:—

To be brief, my practice so prevail'd,
That I return'd, with simular proof enough
To make the noble Leonatus mad,

By wounding his belief in her renown
With tokens thus, and thus;

That he could not

But think her bond of chastity quite crack'd,

I having ta'en the forfeit.

Methinks, I see him now,-
Post. Ay, so thou dost,


[Coming forward.

Italian fiend!—Ah me, most credulous fool,

Egregious murderer, thief, any thing

That's due to all the villains past, in being,

To come!—Oh, give me cord, or knife, or poison,
Some upright justicer! Thou, king, send out
For torturers ingenious:

I am Posthumus,

That kill'd thy daughter :—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 villany less than 'twas !-Oh, Imogen!
My queen, my life, my wife! Oh, Imogen,
Imogen, Imogen !

Imog. Peace, my lord; hear, hear

Post. Thou scornful page, there is no peace for me. [Striking her; she falls. Pisanio. Oh, gentlemen, help, help

Mine, and your mistress :—Oh, my Lord Posthumus! You ne'er kill'd Imogen till now :—Help! help!— Mine honour'd lady!

Post. How come these staggers on me?

Pisanio. Wake, my mistress!

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

Imog. Why did you throw your wedded lady from


Think, that you are upon a rock; and now,

Throw me again.

[Runs into his Arms.

Post. Hang there like fruit, my soul,

Till the tree die!

Cym. My child! my child! my dearest Imogen!

Imog. Your blessing, sir.

[Kneeling. Bel. Though you did love this youth, I blame you


You had a motive for't.

[To uideriu

an Arvirag s. Cy

. I ogen, Thy mot er's dead.

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

Cym. Oh, 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 and Imogen retire with Posthumus; the Guards take off his chains.

« PreviousContinue »