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SCENE I. Britain. The garden of CYMBELINE's palace.
Enter two Gentlemen.
First Gent. You do not meet a man but frowns: our
No more obey the heavens than our courtiers
Still seem as does the king. (1)
But what's the matter?
First Gent. His daughter, and the heir of's kingdom,
He purpos'd to his wife's sole son—a widow
That late he married-hath referr’d(2) herself
Unto(3) a poor but worthy gentleman : she's wedded;
Her husband banish'd; she imprison'd: all
Is outward sorrow; though, I think, the king
Be touch'd at very heart.
None but the king ?
First Gent. He that hath lost her too : so is the queen,
That most desir'd the match : but not a courtier,
Although they wear their faces to the bent
Of the king's looks, hath a heart that is not
Glad at the thing they scowl at.(4)
And why so?
First Gent. He that hath miss'd the princess is a thing
Too bad for bad report: and he that hath her-
I mean, that married her, alack, good man!
And therefore banish'd-is a creature such
As, to seek through the regions of the earth
For one his like, there would be something failing
In him that should compare :-I do not think
So fair an outward, and such stuff within,
Endows a man but he.
You speak him far.
First Gent. I do extend him, sir, within himself;
Crush him together, rather than unfold
His measure duly.
Sec. Gent. What's his name and birth?
First Gent. I cannot delve him to the root: his father Was call's Sicilius, who did join 5) his honour, Against the Romans, with Cassibelan; But had his titles by Tenantius, whom He serv'd with glory and admir'd success, – So gain’d the sur-addition Leonatus : And had, besides this gentleman in question, Two other sons, who, in the wars o'the time, Died with their swords in hand; for which their father, Then old and fond of issue, took such sorrow, That he quit being; and his gentle lady, Big of this gentleman our theme, deceas'd As he was born. The king he takes the babe To his protection ; calls him Posthumus Leonatus ;(6) Breeds him, and makes him of his bed-chamber; Puts to him all the learnings that his time Could make him the receiver of; which he took, As we do air, fast as 'twas minister'd; And in 's spring became a harvest; liv'd in courtWhich rare it is to do—most prais’d, most lov’d; A sample to the youngest; to the more mature A glass that feated them ; and to the graver A child that guided dotards: to his mistress, For whom he now is banish’d,-her own price Proclaims how she esteem'd him and his virtue ; By her election may be truly read
What kind of man he is.
I honour him
Even out of your report. But, pray you, tell me,
Is she sole child to the king ?
His only child.
He had two sons,-if this be worth your hearing,
Mark it,-the eld'st of them at three years old,
l'the swathing-clothes the other, from their nursery
Were stol’n; and to this hour no guess in knowledge
Which way they went.
Sec. Gent. How long is this ago ?
First Gent. Some twenty years.
Sec. Gent. That a king's children should be so convey'd !
So slackly guarded ! and the search so slow,
That could not trace them !
Howsoe'er 'tis strange,
Or that the negligence may well be laugh'd at,
Yet is it true, sir.
Sec. Gent. I do well believe you.
First Gent. We must forbear: here comes the gentle-
The queen, and princess.
Enter the Queen, Posthumus, and IMOGEN.
Queen. No, be assur’d you shall not find me, daughter,
After the slander of most stepmothers,
Evil-ey'd unto you: you're my prisoner, but
Your gaoler shall deliver you the keys
That lock up your restraint.—For you, Posthúmus,
So soon as I can win th' offended king,
I will be known your advocate : marry, yet
The fire of rage is in him; and 'twere good
You lean'd unto his sentence with what patience
Your wisdom may inform you.
Please your highness,
I will from hence to-day.
You know the peril.-
I'll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying
of barr'd affections; though the king Hath charg'd you should not speak together.
Dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant
Can tickle where she wounds !-My dearest husband,
I something fear my father's wrath ; but nothing-
Always reserv'd my holy duty—what
His rage can do on me: you must be gone;
And I shall here abide the hourly shot
Of angry eyes; not comforted to live,
But that there is this jewel in the world,
That I may see again.
My queen! my mistress!
O lady, weep no more, lest I give cause
To be suspected of more tenderness
Than doth become a man! I will remain
The loyal'st husband that did e'er plight troth :
My residence in Rome at one Philario's;
Who to my father was a friend, to me
Known but by letter: thither write, my queen,
And with mine eyes I'll drink the words you send,
Though ink be made of gall.
Be brief, I pray you :
If the king come, I shall incur I know not
How much of his displeasure.—[Aside] Yet I'll move him
To walk this way: I never do him wrong,
But he does buy my injuries, to be friends ;
Pays dear for my offences.
Should we be taking leave
As long a term as yet we have to live,
The loathness to depart would grow. Adieu !
Imo. Nay, stay a little :
Were you but riding forth to air yourself,
Such parting were too petty. Look here, love;
This diamond was my mother's : take it, heart;
But keep it till you woo another wife,
When Imogen is dead.
How, how ! another?-
You gentle gods, give me but this I have,
And sear up my embracements(7) from a next
With bonds of death !—Remain, remain thou here
[Putting on the ring.
While sense can keep it on!(8) And, sweetest, fairest,
As I my poor self did exchange for you,
To your so infinite loss; so in our trifles
I still win of you:
sake wear this;
It is a manacle of love; I'll place it
Upon this fairest prisoner. [Putting a bracelet upon her arm.
O the gods !
When shall we see again ?(9)
Alack, the king!
Enter CYMBELINE and Lords.
Cym. Thou basest thing, avoid ! hence, from my sight!
If after this command thou fraught the court
With thy unworthiness, thou diest : away!
Thou’rt poison to my blood.
The gods protect you !
And bless the good remainders of the court !
Imo. There cannot be a pinch in death
More sharp than this is.
O disloyal thing,
That shouldst repair my youth, thou heapest
A year's age on me !(10)
I beseech you, sir,
Harm not yourself with your vexation:
I'm senseless of your wrath ; a touch more rare
Subdues all pangs, all fears.
Past grace? obedience ?
Imo. Past hope, and in despair ; that way, past grace.
Cym. That mightst have had the sole son of my queen
Imo. O bless'd, that I might not ! I chose an eagle,
And did avoid a puttock.
Cym. Thou took’st a beggar; wouldst have made my
throne A seat for baseness. Imo.
No; I rather added A lustre to it.
Сут. O thou vile one!