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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act II. Scene III.


An Ante-chamber adjoining IMOGEN’S Apartments.

Enter CLOTEN and Lords.

First Lord.Your lordship is the most patient man in loss, the most coldest that ever turned up ace.

Clo.It would make any man cold to lose.

First Lord.But not every man patient after the noble temper of your lordship. You are most hot and furious when you win.

Clo.Winning will put any man into courage. If I could get this foolish Imogen, I should have gold enough. It’s almost morning, is ’t not?

First Lord.Day, my lord.

Clo.I would this music would come. I am advised to give her music o’ mornings; they say it will penetrate.

Enter Musicians.

Come on; tune. If you can penetrate her with your fingering, so; we’ll try with tongue too: if none will do, let her remain; but I’ll never give o’er. First, a very excellent good-conceited thing; after, a wonderful sweet air, with admirable rich words to it: and then let her consider.

  • SONG.
  • Hark! hark! the lark at heaven’s gate sings,
  • And Phœbus ’gins arise,
  • His steeds to water at those springs
  • On chalic’d flowers that lies;
  • And winking Mary-buds begin
  • To ope their golden eyes:
  • With every thing that pretty is,
  • My lady sweet, arise:
  • Arise, arise!
  • So, get you gone. If this penetrate, I will consider your music the better; if it do not, it is a vice in her ears, which horse-hairs and calves’-guts, nor the voice of unpaved eunuch to boot, can never amend.[Exeunt Musicians.

    Sec. Lord.Here comes the king.

    Clo.I am glad I was up so late, for that’s the reason I was up so early; he cannot choose but take this service I have done fatherly.

    Enter CYMBELINE and QUEEN.

    Good morrow to your majesty and to my gracious mother.

    Cym.Attend you here the door of our stern daughter?

    Will she not forth?

    Clo.I have assail’d her with musics, but she vouchsafes no notice.

    Cym.The exile of her minion is too new,

    She hath not yet forgot him; some more time

    Must wear the print of his remembrance out,

    And then she’s yours.

    Queen.You are most bound to the king,

    Who lets go by no vantages that may

    Prefer you to his daughter. Frame yourself

    To orderly soliciting, and be friended

    With aptness of the season; make denials

    Increase your services; so seem as if

    You were inspir’d to do those duties which

    You tender to her; that you in all obey her

    Save when command to your dismission tends,

    And therein you are senseless.

    Clo.Senseless! not so.

    Enter a Messenger.

    Mess.So like you, sir, ambassadors from Rome;

    The one is Caius Lucius.

    Cym.A worthy fellow,

    Albeit he comes on angry purpose now;

    But that’s no fault of his: we must receive him

    According to the honour of his sender;

    And towards himself, his goodness forespent on us,

    We must extend our notice. Our dear son,

    When you have given good morning to your mistress,

    Attend the queen and us; we shall have need

    To employ you towards this Roman. Come, our queen.[Exeunt all but CLOTEN.

    Clo.If she be up, I’ll speak with her; if not,

    Let her lie still, and dream. By your leave, ho![Knocks.

    I know her women are about her. What

    If I do line one of their hands? ’Tis gold

    Which buys admittance; oft it doth; yea, and makes

    Diana’s rangers false themselves, yield up

    Their deer to the stand o’ the stealer; and ’tis gold

    Which makes the true man kill’d and saves the thief;

    Nay, sometime hangs both thief and true man. What

    Can it not do and undo? I will make

    One of her women lawyer to me, for

    I yet not understand the case myself.

    By your leave.[Knocks.

    Enter a Lady.

    Lady.Who’s there, that knocks?

    Clo.A gentleman.

    Lady.No more?

    Clo.Yes, and a gentlewoman’s son.

    Lady.[Aside.]That’s more

    Than some whose tailors are as dear as yours

    Can justly boast of. What’s your lordship’s pleasure?

    Clo.Your lady’s person: is she ready?


    To keep her chamber.

    Clo.There’s gold for you; sell me your good report.

    Lady.How! my good name? or to report of you

    What I shall think is good?—The princess!

    Enter IMOGEN.

    Clo.Good morrow, fairest; sister, your sweet hand.[Exit Lady.

    Imo.Good morrow, sir. You lay out too much pains

    For purchasing but trouble; the thanks I give

    Is telling you that I am poor of thanks

    And scarce can spare them.

    Clo.Still, I swear I love you.

    Imo.If you but said so, ’twere as deep with me:

    If you swear still, your recompense is still

    That I regard it not.

    Clo.This is no answer.

    Imo.But that you shall not say I yield being silent

    I would not speak. I pray you, spare me: faith,

    I shall unfold equal discourtesy

    To your best kindness. One of your great knowing

    Should learn, being taught, forbearance.

    Clo.To leave you in your madness, ’twere my sin:

    I will not.

    Imo.Fools cure not mad folks.

    Clo.Do you call me fool?

    Imo.As I am mad, I do:

    If you’ll be patient, I’ll no more be mad;

    That cures us both. I am much sorry, sir,

    You put me to forget a lady’s manners,

    By being so verbal; and learn now, for all,

    That I, which know my heart, do here pronounce

    By the very truth of it, I care not for you;

    And am so near the lack of charity,—

    To accuse myself,—I hate you; which I had rather

    You felt than make ’t my boast.

    Clo.You sin against

    Obedience, which you owe your father. For

    The contract you pretend with that base wretch,

    One bred of alms and foster’d with cold dishes,

    With scraps o’ the court, it is no contract, none;

    And though it be allow’d in meaner parties—

    Yet who than he more mean?—to knit their souls—

    On whom there is no more dependancy

    But brats and beggary—in self-figur’d knot;

    Yet you are curb’d from that enlargement by

    The consequence o’ the crown, and must not soil

    The precious note of it with a base slave,

    A hilding for a livery, a squire’s cloth,

    A pantler, not so eminent.

    Imo.Profane fellow!

    Wert thou the son of Jupiter, and no more

    But what thou art besides, thou wert too base

    To be his groom; thou wert dignified enough,

    Even to the point of envy, if ’twere made

    Comparative for your virtues, to be styl’d

    The under-hangman of his kingdom, and hated

    For being preferr’d so well.

    Clo.The south-fog rot him!

    Imo.He never can meet more mischance than come

    To be but nam’d of thee. His meanest garment

    That ever hath but clipp’d his body, is dearer

    In my respect than all the hairs above thee,

    Were they all made such men. How now, Pisanio!

    Enter PISANIO.

    Clo.‘His garment!’ Now, the devil—

    Imo.To Dorothy my woman hie thee presently,—

    Clo.‘His garment!’

    Imo.I am sprighted with a fool,

    Frighted, and anger’d worse. Go, bid my woman

    Search for a jewel that too casually

    Hath left mine arm; it was thy master’s, ’shrew me

    If I would lose it for a revenue

    Of any king’s in Europe. I do think

    I saw ’t this morning; confident I am

    Last night ’twas on mine arm, I kiss’d it;

    I hope it be not gone to tell my lord

    That I kiss aught but he.

    Pis.’Twill not be lost.

    Imo.I hope so; go, and search.[Exit PISANIO.

    Clo.You have abus’d me:

    ‘His meanest garment!’

    Imo.Ay, I said so, sir:

    If you will make ’t an action, call witness to ’t.

    Clo.I will inform your father.

    Imo.Your mother too:

    She’s my good lady, and will conceive, I hope,

    But the worst of me. So I leave you, sir,

    To the worst of discontent.[Exit.

    Clo.I’ll be reveng’d.

    ‘His meanest garment!’ Well.[Exit.