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Come, to the matter.
All too soon I shall,
Unless thou would'st 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 we 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 cracked of kitchen trulls, or his description
Proved us unspeaking sots.
Nay, nay, to the purpose.
Tach. 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 wagered with him
Pieces of gold, 'gainst this which then he wore
Upon his honored 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 honor 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 quenched
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 prevailed,
That I returned with simular 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 cracked,
I having ta'en the forfeit. Whereupon,
Methinks, I see him now,-
Italian fiend!-Ah me, most credulous fool,
Egregious murderer, thief, any thing
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 killed 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 called Posthumus Leonatus; and
Be villany less than 'twas!-O Imogen!
My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen,
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.-O my lord Posthumus! You ne'er killed Imogen till now.- Help, help!— Mine honored 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.
How fares my mistress?
Imo. O, get thee from my sight;
Thou gav'st me poison. Dangerous fellow, hence!
Breathe not where princes are.
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?
It poisoned me.
I left out one thing which the queen confessed,
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.
What's this, Cornelius?
Cor. The queen, sir, very oft impórtuned 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.
There was our error.
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.
Post. Hang there like fruit, my soul, Till the tree die!
How now, my flesh, my child?
What, mak'st thou me a dullard in this act?
Wilt thou not speak to me?
Your blessing, sir.
[Kneeling. Bel. Though you did love this youth, I blame ye not; You had a motive for't. [To GUI. and ARV. My tears that fall,
Prove holy water on thee! Imogen,
Thy mother's dead.
I am sorry for't, 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.
Now fear is from me, I'll speak truth. Lord Cloten,
Upon my lady's missing, came to me
With his sword drawn; foamed at the mouth, and swore,
If I discovered not which way she was gone,
It was my instant death. By accident,
I had a feigned 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 enforced from me, away he posts
With unchaste purpose, and with oath to violate
My lady's honor. What became of him,
I further know not.
Let me end the story:
I slew him there.
Marry, the gods forefend!
I would not thy good deeds should from my lips
Pluck a hard sentence. Pr'ythee, valiant youth,
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 so roar to me. I cut off's head;
And am right glad, he is not standing here
To tell this tale of mine.
I am sorry for thee; By thine own tongue thou art condemned, and must Endure our law. Thou art dead.
That headless man
I thought had been my lord.
And take him from our presence.
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;
They were not born for bondage.
Wilt thou undo the worth thou art unpaid for,
By tasting of our wrath? How of descent
As good as we?
Bind the offender,
Stay, sir king.
Gui. And our good his.
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.
Your danger is
By leave; thou hadst, great king, a subject, who
Was called Belarius.
What of him? he is
He it is, that hath
Assumed this age: indeed, a banished man;
I know not how, a traitor.
The whole world shall not save him.
First pay me for the nursing of thy sons;
And let it be confiscate all, so soon
As I have received it.
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.
How! my issue?
Bel. So sure as you your father's. I, old Morgan,
Am that Belarius whom you sometime banished.
Your pleasure was my mere offence, my punishment
Itself, and all my treason: that I suffered,
Was all the harm I did. These gentle princes
(For such, and so they are) these twenty year
Have I trained up; those arts they have, as I
Could put into them; my breeding was, sir, as
Your highness knows. Their nurse, Euriphile,
Whom for the theft I wedded, stole these children
Upon my banishment. I moved her to't;
Having received the punishment before,
For that which I did then. Beaten for loyalty
Excited me to treason; their dear loss,
The more of you 'twas felt, the more it shaped
Unto my end of stealing them. But, gracious sir,
Here are your sons again; and I must lose
Two of the sweet'st companions in the world.-
The benediction of these covering heavens
Fall on their heads like dew! for they are worthy
To inlay heaven with stars.
Thou weep'st, and speak'st.
The service, that you three have done, is more
Unlike than this thou tell'st. I lost my children;