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We make a quire, as doth the prison bird,
And sing our bondage freely.
Bel.

How you speak!
Did you but know the city's usuries,
And felt them knowingly; the art o’the court,
As hard to leave, as keep; whose top to climb
Is certain falling, or so slippery, that
The fear's as bad as falling ; the toil of the war,
A pain that only seems to seek out danger
l’the name of fame, and honor; which dies i'the search;
And hath as oft a slanderous epitaph,
As record of fair act; nay, many times,
Doth ill deserve by doing well ; what's worse,
Must court'sy at the censure.–O boys, this story
The world may read in me. My body's marked
With Roman swords; and my report was once
First with the best of note. Cymbeline loved me;
And when a soldier was the theme, my name
Was not far off. Then was I as a tree,
Whose boughs did bend with fruit; but in one night,
A storm or robbery, call it what you will,
Shook down my mellow hangings, nay, my leaves,
And left me bare to weather.
Gui.

Uncertain favor ! Bel. My fault being nothing (as I have told you oft) But that two villains, whose false oaths prevailed Before my perfect honor, swore to Cymbeline, I was confederate with the Romans. So, Followed my banishment; and, this twenty years, This rock, and these demesnes, have been my world; Where I have lived at honest freedom; paid More pious debts to Heaven, than in all The fore-end of my time.—But, up to the mountains ; This is not hunters' language.—He that strikes The venison first, shall be the lord o' the feast; To him the other two shall minister; And we will fear no poison, which attends In place of greater state. I'll meet you in the valleys.

[Exeunt Gui. and Arv. How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature !

These boys know little they are sons to the king ;
Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive.
They think they are mine; and, though trained up

thus meanly
I’the cave, wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit
The roofs of palaces; and nature prompts them,
In simple and low things, to prince it, much
Beyond the trick of others. This Polydore,
The heir of Cymbeline and Britain, whom
The king, his father, called Guiderius, ---Jove!
When on my three-foot stool I sit, and tell
The warlike feats I have done, his spirits fly out
Into my story : say,—Thus mine enemy fell ;
And thus I set my foot on his neck; even then
The princely blood flows in his cheek, he sweats,
Strains his young nerves, and puts himself in posture
That acts my words. The younger brother, Cadwal,
(Once Arviragus,) in as like a figure,
Strikes life into my speech, and shows much more
His own conceiving. Hark! the game is roused !-
O Cymbeline! Heaven and my conscience knows,
Thou didst unjustly banish me; whereon,
At three, and two years old, I stole these babes ;
Thinking to bar thee of succession, as
Thou reft'st me of my lands. Euriphile,
Thou wast their nurse; they took thee for their mother,
And every day do honor to her grave.'
Myself, Belarius, that am Morgan called,
They take for natural father. The game is up.

[Exit.

SCENE IV. Near Milford-Haven.

Enter PISANIO and IMOGEN. Imo. Thou told'st me, when we came from horse,

the place

Was near at hand. Ne'er longed my mother so

1 i. e. to the grave of Euriphile; or to the grave of “ their mother," as they supposed it to be.

To see me first, as I have now. Pisanio! Man!
Where is Posthumus ? What is in thy mind,
That makes thee stare thus? Wherefore breaks that

sigh
From the inward of thee ? One, but painted thus,
Would be interpreted a thing perplexed
Beyond self-explication. Put thyself
Into a 'havior of less fear, ere wildness
Vanquish my staider senses. What's the matter?
Why tender’st thou that paper to me, with
A look untender ? 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-damned Italy hath out-craftied him,
And he's at some hard point.—Speak, man; thy tongue
May take off some extremity, which to read
Would be even mortal to me.
Pis.

Please you, read; And you shall find me, wretched man, a thing The most disdained of fortune.

Imo. [Reads.] Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath played the strumpet in my bed; the testimonies whereofolie bleeding in me. I speak not out of weak surmises ; from proof as strong as my grief, and as certain as Í 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 dishonor, and equally to me disloyal.

Pis. What shall I need to draw my sword ? the paper Hath cut her throat already.—No, 'tis slander ; Whose edge is sharper than the sword; whose tongue

1 The true pronunciation of Greek and Latin names was not much regarded by the writers of Shakspeare's age. The Poet has, however, differed from himself, and given the true pronunciation when the name first occurs, and in one other place :

“ To his protection; call him Posthumus."
“Struck the maintop! O Posthůmus! alas."

Outvenoms all the worms of Nile ; whose breath
Rides on the posting winds, and doth belie
All corners of the world. Kings, queens, and states,
Maids, matrons, nay, the secrets of the grave
This viperous slander enters.—What cheer, madam ?

Imo. 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 nature,
To break it with a fearful dream of him,
And cry myself awake? that's false to his bed ?
Is it?

Pis. Alas, good lady!

Imo. I false? Thy conscience witness.—Iachimo, Thou didst accuse him of incontinency; Thou then look’dst like a villain ; now, methinks, Thy favor's good enough.—Some jay of Italy, Whose mother was her painting, hath betrayed him. Poor 1 am stale, a garment out of fashion ; And, for I am richer than to hang by the walls,* I must be ripped :—to pieces with me!-0, Men's vows are women's traitors! All good seeming, By thy revolt, О husband, shall be thought Put on for villany; not born, where’t grows; But worn, a bait for ladies. Pis.

Good madam, hear me. Imo. True, honest men being heard, like false Æneas, Were, in his time, thought false ; and Sinon's weeping

1 It has already been observed that worm was the general name for all the serpent kind. See Antony and Cleopatra, Act v. Sc. 2.

2 i. e. persons of the highest rank. 3 Putta, in Italian, signifies both a jay and a whore. Some jay of Italy, whose mother was her painting, i. e. made by art; the creature not of nature, but of painting. In this sense, painting may be said to be her mother.

4 That is, to be hung up as useless among the neglected contents of a wardrobe. Clothes were not formerly, as at present, made slight materials; were not kept in drawers, or given away as soon as lapse of time or change of fashion had impaired their value. On the contrary, they were hung up on wooden pegs, in a room appropriated to the sole purpose of receiving them; and though such cast-off things as were composed of rich substances were occasionally ripped for domestic uses, articles of inferior quality were suffered to hang by the walls till age and moths had destroyed what pride would not permit to be worn by servants or poor relations.

Did scandal many a holy tear ; took pity
From most true wretchedness. So, thou, Posthumus,
Wilt lay the leaven on all proper men;'
Goodly, and gallant, shall be false and perjured,
From thy great fail.—Come, fellow, be thou honest :
Do thou thy master's bidding: when thou seest him,
A little witness my obedience. Look !
I draw the sword myself: take it; and hit
The innocent mansion of my love, my heart.
Fear not; 'tis empty of all things but grief:
Thy master is not there; who was, indeed,
The riches of it. Do his bidding; strike.
Thou mayst be valiant in a better cause;
But now thou seem'st a coward.
Pis.

Hence, vile instrument!
Thou shalt not damn my hand.
Imo.

Why, I must die; 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; Obedient as the scabbard.What is here? The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus, All turned to heresy? Away, away, Corrupters of my faith! you shall no more Be stomachers to my heart! Thus may poor fools Believe false teachers : though those that are betrayed Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor Stands in worse case of woe. And thou, Posthumus, thou that didst set up My disobedience 'gainst the king my father, And make me put into contempt the suits Of princely fellows, shalt hereafter find It is no act of common passage, but

1 The leaven is, in Scripture phraseology, “ The whole wickedness of our sinful nature.”

2 « That makes me afraid to put an end to my own life.”

3 Shakspeare here means Leonatus's letters; but there is an opposition intended between Scripture, in its common signification, and heresy.

4 Fellows for equals.

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