ACT V SCENE V

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Cymbeline

ACT V SCENE VCymbeline’s tent.
Enter CYMBELINE, BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS,PISANIO, Lords, Officers, and Attendants
CYMBELINEStand by my side, you whom the gods have made
Preservers of my throne. Woe is my heart
That the poor soldier that so richly fought,
Whose rags shamed gilded arms, whose naked breast 5
Stepp’d before larges of proof, cannot be found:
He shall be happy that can find him, if
Our grace can make him so.
BELARIUSI never saw
Such noble fury in so poor a thing; 10
Such precious deeds in one that promises nought
But beggary and poor looks.
CYMBELINENo tidings of him?
PISANIOHe hath been search’d among the dead and living,
But no trace of him. 15
CYMBELINETo my grief, I am
The heir of his reward;
To BELARIUS, GUIDERIUS, and ARVIRAGUS
which I will add
To you, the liver, heart and brain of Britain,
By whom I grant she lives. ‘Tis now the time 20
To ask of whence you are. Report it.
BELARIUSSir,
In Cambria are we born, and gentlemen:
Further to boast were neither true nor modest,
Unless I add, we are honest. 25
CYMBELINEBow your knees.
Arise my knights o’ the battle: I create you
Companions to our person and will fit you
With dignities becoming your estates.
Enter CORNELIUS and Ladies
There’s business in these faces. Why so sadly 30
Greet you our victory? you look like Romans,
And not o’ the court of Britain.
CORNELIUSHail, great king!
To sour your happiness, I must report
The queen is dead. 35
CYMBELINEWho worse than a physician
Would this report become? But I consider,
By medicine life may be prolong’d, yet death
Will seize the doctor too. How ended she?
CORNELIUSWith horror, madly dying, like her life, 40
Which, being cruel to the world, concluded
Most cruel to herself. What she confess’d
I will report, so please you: these her women
Can trip me, if I err; who with wet cheeks
Were present when she finish’d. 45
CYMBELINEPrithee, say.
CORNELIUSFirst, she confess’d she never loved you, only
Affected greatness got by you, not you:
Married your royalty, was wife to your place;
Abhorr’d your person. 50
CYMBELINEShe alone knew this;
And, but she spoke it dying, I would not
Believe her lips in opening it. Proceed.
CORNELIUSYour daughter, whom she bore in hand to love
With such integrity, she did confess 55
Was as a scorpion to her sight; whose life,
But that her flight prevented it, she had
Ta’en off by poison.
CYMBELINEO most delicate fiend!
Who is ‘t can read a woman? Is there more? 60
CORNELIUSMore, sir, and worse. She did confess she had
For you a mortal mineral; which, being took,
Should by the minute feed on life and lingering
By inches waste you: in which time she purposed,
By watching, weeping, tendance, kissing, to 65
O’ercome you with her show, and in time,
When she had fitted you with her craft, to work
Her son into the adoption of the crown:
But, failing of her end by his strange absence,
Grew shameless-desperate; open’d, in despite 70
Of heaven and men, her purposes; repented
The evils she hatch’d were not effected; so
Despairing died.
CYMBELINEHeard you all this, her women?
First LadyWe did, so please your highness. 75
CYMBELINEMine eyes
Were not in fault, for she was beautiful;
Mine ears, that heard her flattery; nor my heart,
That thought her like her seeming; it had
been vicious 80
To have mistrusted her: yet, O my daughter!
That it was folly in me, thou mayst say,
And prove it in thy feeling. Heaven mend all!
Enter LUCIUS, IACHIMO, the Soothsayer, and otherRoman Prisoners, guarded; POSTHUMUS LEONATUSbehind, and IMOGEN
Thou comest not, Caius, now for tribute that
The Britons have razed out, though with the loss 85
Of many a bold one; whose kinsmen have made suit
That their good souls may be appeased with slaughter
Of you their captives, which ourself have granted:
So think of your estate.
CAIUS LUCIUSConsider, sir, the chance of war: the day 90
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 95
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, 100
Let him be ransom’d: never master had
A page so kind, so duteous, diligent,
So tender over his occasions, true,
So feat, so nurse-like: let his virtue join
With my request, which I make bold your highness 105
Cannot deny; he hath done no Briton harm,
Though he have served a Roman: save him, sir,
And spare no blood beside.
CYMBELINEI have surely seen him:
His favour is familiar to me. Boy, 110
Thou hast look’d thyself into my grace,
And art mine own. I know not why, wherefore,
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; 115
Yea, though thou do demand a prisoner,
The noblest ta’en.
IMOGENI humbly thank your highness.
CAIUS LUCIUSI do not bid thee beg my life, good lad;
And yet I know thou wilt. 120
IMOGENNo, no: alack,
There’s other work in hand: I see a thing
Bitter to me as death: your life, good master,
Must shuffle for itself.
CAIUS LUCIUSThe boy disdains me, 125
He leaves me, scorns me: briefly die their joys
That place them on the truth of girls and boys.
Why stands he so perplex’d?
CYMBELINEWhat wouldst thou, boy?
I love thee more and more: think more and more 130
What’s best to ask. Know’st him thou look’st on? speak,
Wilt have him live? Is he thy kin? thy friend?
IMOGENHe is a Roman; no more kin to me
Than I to your highness; who, being born your vassal,
Am something nearer. 135
CYMBELINEWherefore eyest him so?
IMOGENI’ll tell you, sir, in private, if you please
To give me hearing.
CYMBELINEAy, with all my heart,
And lend my best attention. What’s thy name? 140
IMOGENFidele, sir.
CYMBELINEThou’rt my good youth, my page;
I’ll be thy master: walk with me; speak freely.
CYMBELINE and IMOGEN converse apart
BELARIUSIs not this boy revived from death?
ARVIRAGUSOne sand another 145
Not more resembles that sweet rosy lad
Who died, and was Fidele. What think you?
GUIDERIUSThe same dead thing alive.
BELARIUSPeace, peace! see further; he eyes us not; forbear;
Creatures may be alike: were ‘t he, I am sure 150
He would have spoke to us.
GUIDERIUSBut we saw him dead.
BELARIUSBe silent; let’s see further.
PISANIOAside
Since she is living, let the time run on
To good or bad. 155
CYMBELINE and IMOGEN come forward
CYMBELINECome, stand thou by our side;
Make thy demand aloud.
To IACHIMO
Sir, step you forth;
Give answer to this boy, and do it freely;
Or, by our greatness and the grace of it, 160
Which is our honour, bitter torture shall
Winnow the truth from falsehood. On, speak to him.
IMOGENMy boon is, that this gentleman may render
Of whom he had this ring.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUSAside
CYMBELINEThat diamond upon your finger, say 165
How came it yours?
IACHIMOThou’lt torture me to leave unspoken that
Which, to be spoke, would torture thee.
CYMBELINEHow! me?
IACHIMOI am glad to be constrain’d to utter that 170
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 lived 175
‘Twixt sky and ground. Wilt thou hear more, my lord?
CYMBELINEAll that belongs to this.
IACHIMOThat paragon, thy daughter,–
For whom my heart drops blood, and my false spirits
Quail to remember–Give me leave; I faint. 180
CYMBELINEMy daughter! what of her? Renew thy strength:
I had rather thou shouldst live while nature will
Than die ere I hear more: strive, man, and speak.
IACHIMOUpon a time,–unhappy was the clock
That struck the hour!–it was in Rome,–accursed 185
The mansion where!–’twas at a feast,–O, would
Our viands had been poison’d, or at least
Those which I heaved to head!–the good Posthumus–
What should I say? he was too good to be
Where ill men were; and was the best of all 190
Amongst the rarest of good ones,–sitting sadly,
Hearing us praise our loves of Italy
For beauty that made barren the swell’d boast
Of him that best could speak, for feature, laming
The shrine of Venus, or straight-pight Minerva. 195
Postures beyond brief nature, for condition,
A shop of all the qualities that man
Loves woman for, besides that hook of wiving,
Fairness which strikes the eye–
CYMBELINEI stand on fire: 200
Come to the matter.
IACHIMOAll too soon I shall,
Unless thou wouldst grieve quickly. This Posthumus,
Most like a noble lord in love and one
That had a royal lover, took his hint; 205
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 210
Were crack’d of kitchen-trolls, or his description
Proved us unspeaking sots.
CYMBELINENay, nay, to the purpose.
IACHIMOYour daughter’s chastity–there it begins.
He spake of her, as Dian had hot dreams, 215
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’s bed and win this ring 220
By hers and mine adultery. He, true knight,
No lesser of her honour 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 225
Been all the worth of’s 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 quench’d 230
Of hope, not longing, mine Italian brain
‘Gan in your duller Britain operate
Most vilely; for my vantage, excellent:
And, to be brief, my practise so prevail’d,
That I return’d with simular proof enough 235
To make the noble Leonatus mad,
By wounding his belief in her renown
With tokens thus, and thus; averting notes
Of chamber-hanging, pictures, this her bracelet,–
O cunning, how I got it!–nay, some marks 240
Of secret on her person, that he could not
But think her bond of chastity quite crack’d,
I having ta’en the forfeit. Whereupon–
Methinks, I see him now–
POSTHUMUS LEONATUSAdvancing
Italian fiend! Ay me, most credulous fool, 245
Egregious murderer, thief, any thing
That’s due to all the villains past, in being,
To come! O, give me cord, or knife, or poison,
Some upright justicer! Thou, king, send out
For torturers ingenious: it is I 250
That all the abhorred things o’ the earth amend
By being worse than they. I am Posthumus,
That kill’d thy daughter:–villain-like, I lie–
That caused a lesser villain than myself,
A sacrilegious thief, to do’t: the temple 255
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 Leonitus; and
Be villany less than ’twas! O Imogen! 260
My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen,
Imogen, Imogen!
IMOGENPeace, my lord; hear, hear–
POSTHUMUS LEONATUSShall’s have a play of this? Thou scornful page,
There lie thy part. 265
Striking her: she falls
PISANIOO, gentlemen, help!
Mine and your mistress! O, my lord Posthumus!
You ne’er kill’d Imogen til now. Help, help!
Mine honour’d lady!
CYMBELINEDoes the world go round? 270
POSTHUMUS LEONATUSHow come these staggers on me?
PISANIOWake, my mistress!
CYMBELINEIf this be so, the gods do mean to strike me
To death with mortal joy.
PISANIOHow fares thy mistress? 275
IMOGENO, get thee from my sight;
Thou gavest me poison: dangerous fellow, hence!
Breathe not where princes are.
CYMBELINEThe tune of Imogen!
PISANIOLady, 280
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.
CYMBELINENew matter still?
IMOGENIt poison’d me. 285
CORNELIUSO gods!
I left out one thing which the queen confess’d.
Which must approve thee honest: ‘If Pisanio
Have,’ said she, ‘given his mistress that confection
Which I gave him for cordial, she is served 290
As I would serve a rat.’
CYMBELINEWhat’s this, Comelius?
CORNELIUSThe queen, sir, very oft importuned me
To temper poisons for her, still pretending
The satisfaction of her knowledge only 295
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 300
All offices of nature should again
Do their due functions. Have you ta’en of it?
IMOGENMost like I did, for I was dead.
BELARIUSMy boys,
There was our error. 305
GUIDERIUSThis is, sure, Fidele.
IMOGENWhy did you throw your wedded lady from you?
Think that you are upon a rock; and now
Throw me again.
Embracing him
POSTHUMUS LEONATUSHang there like a fruit, my soul, 310
Till the tree die!
CYMBELINEHow now, my flesh, my child!
What, makest thou me a dullard in this act?
Wilt thou not speak to me?
IMOGENKneeling
BELARIUSTo GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS
this youth, I blame ye not: 315
You had a motive for’t.
CYMBELINEMy tears that fall
Prove holy water on thee! Imogen,
Thy mother’s dead.
IMOGENI am sorry for’t, my lord. 320
CYMBELINEO, she was nought; and long of her it was
That we meet here so strangely: but her son
Is gone, we know not how nor where.
PISANIOMy lord,
Now fear is from me, I’ll speak troth. Lord Cloten, 325
Upon my lady’s missing, came to me
With his sword drawn; foam’d at the mouth, and swore,
If I discover’d not which way she was gone,
It was my instant death. By accident,
had a feigned letter of my master’s 330
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 335
My lady’s honour: what became of him
I further know not.
GUIDERIUSLet me end the story:
I slew him there.
CYMBELINEMarry, the gods forfend! 340
I would not thy good deeds should from my lips
Pluck a bard sentence: prithee, valiant youth,
Deny’t again.
GUIDERIUSI have spoke it, and I did it.
CYMBELINEHe was a prince. 345
GUIDERIUSA most incivil 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 350
To tell this tale of mine.
CYMBELINEI am sorry for thee:
By thine own tongue thou art condemn’d, and must
Endure our law: thou’rt dead.
IMOGENThat headless man 355
I thought had been my lord.
CYMBELINEBind the offender,
And take him from our presence.
BELARIUSStay, sir king:
This man is better than the man he slew, 360
As well descended as thyself; and hath
More of thee merited than a band of Clotens
Had ever scar for.
To the Guard
Let his arms alone;
They were not born for bondage. 365
CYMBELINEWhy, old soldier,
Wilt thou undo the worth thou art unpaid for,
By tasting of our wrath? How of descent
As good as we?
ARVIRAGUSIn that he spake too far. 370
CYMBELINEAnd thou shalt die for’t.
BELARIUSWe will die all three:
But I will prove that two on’s are as good
As I have given out him. My sons, I must,
For mine own part, unfold a dangerous speech, 375
Though, haply, well for you.
ARVIRAGUSYour danger’s ours.
GUIDERIUSAnd our good his.
BELARIUSHave at it then, by leave.
Thou hadst, great king, a subject who 380
Was call’d Belarius.
CYMBELINEWhat of him? he is
A banish’d traitor.
BELARIUSHe it is that hath
Assumed this age; indeed a banish’d man; 385
I know not how a traitor.
CYMBELINETake him hence:
The whole world shall not save him.
BELARIUSNot too hot:
First pay me for the nursing of thy sons; 390
And let it be confiscate all, so soon
As I have received it.
CYMBELINENursing of my sons!
BELARIUSI am too blunt and saucy: here’s my knee:
Ere I arise, I will prefer my sons; 395
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. 400
CYMBELINEHow! my issue!
BELARIUSSo sure as you your father’s. I, old Morgan,
Am that Belarius whom you sometime banish’d:
Your pleasure was my mere offence, my punishment
Itself, and all my treason; that I suffer’d 405
Was all the harm I did. These gentle princes–
For such and so they are–these twenty years
Have I train’d up: those arts they have as I
Could put into them; my breeding was, sir, as
Your highness knows. Their nurse, Euriphile, 410
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, 415
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 420
Fall on their heads like dew! for they are worthy
To inlay heaven with stars.
CYMBELINEThou weep’st, and speak’st.
The service that you three have done is more
Unlike than this thou tell’st. I lost my children: 425
If these be they, I know not how to wish
A pair of worthier sons.
BELARIUSBe pleased awhile.
This gentleman, whom I call Polydore,
Most worthy prince, as yours, is true Guiderius: 430
This gentleman, my Cadwal, Arviragus,
Your younger princely son; he, sir, was lapp’d
In a most curious mantle, wrought by the hand
Of his queen mother, which for more probation
I can with ease produce. 435
CYMBELINEGuiderius had
Upon his neck a mole, a sanguine star;
It was a mark of wonder.
BELARIUSThis is he;
Who hath upon him still that natural stamp: 440
It was wise nature’s end in the donation,
To be his evidence now.
CYMBELINEO, what, am I
A mother to the birth of three? Ne’er mother
Rejoiced deliverance more. Blest pray you be, 445
That, after this strange starting from your orbs,
may reign in them now! O Imogen,
Thou hast lost by this a kingdom.
IMOGENNo, my lord;
I have got two worlds by ‘t. O my gentle brothers, 450
Have we thus met? O, never say hereafter
But I am truest speaker you call’d me brother,
When I was but your sister; I you brothers,
When ye were so indeed.
CYMBELINEDid you e’er meet? 455
ARVIRAGUSAy, my good lord.
GUIDERIUSAnd at first meeting loved;
Continued so, until we thought he died.
CORNELIUSBy the queen’s dram she swallow’d.
CYMBELINEO rare instinct! 460
When shall I hear all through? This fierce
abridgement
Hath to it circumstantial branches, which
Distinction should be rich in. Where? how lived You?
And when came you to serve our Roman captive? 465
How parted with your brothers? how first met them?
Why fled you from the court? and whither? These,
And your three motives to the battle, with
I know not how much more, should be demanded;
And all the other by-dependencies, 470
From chance to chance: but nor the time nor place
Will serve our long inter’gatories. See,
Posthumus anchors upon Imogen,
And she, like harmless lightning, throws her eye
On him, her brother, me, her master, hitting 475
Each object with a joy: the counterchange
Is severally in all. Let’s quit this ground,
And smoke the temple with our sacrifices.
To BELARIUS
Thou art my brother; so we’ll hold thee ever.
IMOGENYou are my father too, and did relieve me, 480
To see this gracious season.
CYMBELINEAll o’erjoy’d,
Save these in bonds: let them be joyful too,
For they shall taste our comfort.
IMOGENMy good master, 485
I will yet do you service.
CAIUS LUCIUSHappy be you!
CYMBELINEThe forlorn soldier, that so nobly fought,
He would have well becomed this place, and graced
The thankings of a king. 490
POSTHUMUS LEONATUSI am, sir,
The soldier that did company these three
In poor beseeming; ’twas a fitment for
The purpose I then follow’d. That I was he,
Speak, Iachimo: I had you down and might 495
Have made you finish.
IACHIMOKneeling
But now my heavy conscience sinks my knee,
As then your force did. Take that life, beseech you,
Which I so often owe: but your ring first;
And here the bracelet of the truest princess 500
That ever swore her faith.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUSKneel not to me:
The power that I have on you is, to spare you;
The malice towards you to forgive you: live,
And deal with others better. 505
CYMBELINENobly doom’d!
We’ll learn our freeness of a son-in-law;
Pardon’s the word to all.
ARVIRAGUSYou holp us, sir,
As you did mean indeed to be our brother; 510
Joy’d are we that you are.
POSTHUMUS LEONATUSYour servant, princes. Good my lord of Rome,
Call forth your soothsayer: as I slept, methought
Great Jupiter, upon his eagle back’d,
Appear’d to me, with other spritely shows 515
Of mine own kindred: when I waked, I found
This label on my bosom; whose containing
Is so from sense in hardness, that I can
Make no collection of it: let him show
His skill in the construction. 520
CAIUS LUCIUSPhilarmonus!
SoothsayerHere, my good lord.
CAIUS LUCIUSRead, and declare the meaning.
SoothsayerReads
unknown, without seeking find, and be embraced by a
piece of tender air; and when from a stately cedar 525
shall be lopped branches, which, being dead many
years, shall after revive, be jointed to the old
stock, and freshly grow; then shall Posthumus end
his miseries, Britain be fortunate and flourish in
peace and plenty.’ 530
Thou, Leonatus, art the lion’s whelp;
The fit and apt construction of thy name,
Being Leonatus, doth import so much.
To CYMBELINE
The piece of tender air, thy virtuous daughter,
Which we call ‘mollis aer;’ and ‘mollis aer’ 535
We term it ‘mulier:’ which ‘mulier’ I divine
Is this most constant wife; who, even now,
Answering the letter of the oracle,
Unknown to you, unsought, were clipp’d about
With this most tender air. 540
CYMBELINEThis hath some seeming.
SoothsayerThe lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline,
Personates thee: and thy lopp’d branches point
Thy two sons forth; who, by Belarius stol’n,
For many years thought dead, are now revived, 545
To the majestic cedar join’d, whose issue
Promises Britain peace and plenty.
CYMBELINEWell
My peace we will begin. And, Caius Lucius,
Although the victor, we submit to Caesar, 550
And to the Roman empire; promising
To pay our wonted tribute, from the which
We were dissuaded by our wicked queen;
Whom heavens, in justice, both on her and hers,
Have laid most heavy hand. 555
SoothsayerThe fingers of the powers above do tune
The harmony of this peace. The vision
Which I made known to Lucius, ere the stroke
Of this yet scarce-cold battle, at this instant
Is full accomplish’d; for the Roman eagle, 560
From south to west on wing soaring aloft,
Lessen’d herself, and in the beams o’ the sun
So vanish’d: which foreshow’d our princely eagle,
The imperial Caesar, should again unite
His favour with the radiant Cymbeline, 565
Which shines here in the west.
CYMBELINELaud we the gods;
And let our crooked smokes climb to their nostrils
From our blest altars. Publish we this peace
To all our subjects. Set we forward: let 570
A Roman and a British ensign wave
Friendly together: so through Lud’s-town march:
And in the temple of great Jupiter
Our peace we’ll ratify; seal it with feasts.
Set on there! Never was a war did cease, 575
Ere bloody hands were wash’d, with such a peace.
Exeunt