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Post. Thou bring'st good news. I am called to be made free.

Jail. I'll be hanged, then.

Post. Thou shalt be then freer than a jailor; no bolts for the dead. [Exeunt POSTHUMUS and Messenger. Jail. Unless a man would marry a gallows, and beget young gibbets, I never saw one so prone. Yet, on my conscience, there are verier knaves desire to live, for all he be a Roman; and there be some of them too, that die against their wills so should I, if I were one. I would we were all of one mind, and one mind good: oh, there were desolation of jailors, and gallowses! I speak against my present profit, but my wish hath a preferment in't.




PISANIO, Lords, Officers, and Attendants.

Cym. Stand 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 sham'd gilded arms, whose naked breast
Stepp'd before targe of proof', cannot be found:

He shall be happy that can find him, if

Our grace can make him so.

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Such noble fury in so poor a thing;

Such precious deeds in one, that promis'd nought

But beggary and poor looks.


No tidings of him?

Pis. He hath been search'd among the dead and living, But no trace of him.

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The heir of his reward; which I will add

To you, the liver, heart, and brain of Britain',

1 Stepp'd before TARGE of proof,] It is targes in the old impressions, and possibly it is right; but if so, it must be read in the time of a monosyllable.

2 the liver, heart, and brain of Britain,] Turning, of course, towards Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus.

By whom, I grant, she lives. 'Tis now the time
To ask of whence you are:-report it.



In Cambria are we born, and gentlemen.
Farther to boast were neither true nor modest,
Unless I add, we are honest.


Bow 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
Greet you our victory? you look like Romans,
And not o' the court of Britain.


Hail, great king!

To sour your happiness, I must report

The queen is dead.

Whom 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?

Cor. With horror, madly dying, like her life;
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.


Pr'ythee, say.

Cor. First, she confess'd she never lov'd you; only

Affected greatness got by you, not you:

Married your royalty, was wife to your place,

Abhorr'd your person.


She alone knew this;

And, but she spoke it dying, I would not

Believe her lips in opening it. Proceed.

Cor. Your daughter, whom she bore in hand to love3


- whom she bore in hand to love] i. e. Whom she pretended to love, or led to believe that she loved. In "Measure for Measure," A. i. sc. 5, we had the expression,

"Bore many gentlemen, myself being one,

In hand, and hope of action."

See also for the same expression Vol. iii. p. 435, where it rather seems to mean to keep in suspense.

With such integrity, she did confess
Was as a scorpion to her sight; whose life,
But that her flight prevented it, she had
Ta'en off by poison.


Oh most delicate fiend!

Who is't can read a woman ?--Is there more?

Cor. More, 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 purpos'd,
By watching, weeping, tendance, kissing, to
O'ercome you with her show; yes, and in time
(When she had fitted you with her craft) to work
Her son into th' adoption of the crown:
But failing of her end by his strange absence,
Grew shameless-desperate; open'd, in despite
Of heaven and men, her purposes; repented
The evils she hatch'd were not effected; so,
Despairing died.


Heard you all this, her women?
Lady. We did so, please your highness.

Were not in fault, for she was beautiful;

Mine eyes

Mine ears, that heard her flattery; nor my heart,

That thought her like her seeming; it had been vicious
To have mistrusted her: yet, oh 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 other Roman
Prisoners, guarded; POSTHUMUS behind, and IMOGEN *.

Thou com'st not, Caius, now for tribute: that
The Britons have raz'd out, though with the loss
Of many a bold one; whose kinsmen have made suit,
That their good souls may be appeas'd with slaughter
Of you their captives, which ourself have granted:
So, think of your estate.

Luc. Consider, sir, the chance of war: the day

Was your's by accident; had it gone with us,


Posthumus behind, and Imogen.] This is the old stage-direction, excepting that Posthumus is called Leonatus, and that we are not told that the Roman prisoners were guarded.

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
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,
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'll make bold, your highness
Cannot deny he hath done no Briton harm,

Though he have serv'd a Roman. Save him, sir,
And spare no blood beside.


I have surely seen him:

His favour is familiar to me.-Boy,

Thou hast look'd thyself into my grace,

And art mine own.-I know not why, nor 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;

Yea, though thou do demand a prisoner,

The noblest ta'en.


I humbly thank your highness. Luc. I do not bid thee beg my life, good lad, And yet I know thou wilt.


No, no; alack!

There's other work in hand.-I see a thing

Bitter to me as death.-Your life, good master,

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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?


What wouldst thou, boy?

I love thee more and more; think more and more

5 SO FEAT,] So neat, ready, clever, in this instance: it also sometimes means fine or brave, according to Minsheu. See "feated," in this play, p. 261.

His FAVOUR is familiar to me.]

Here, as in many other places, "favour is

used for countenance, or features generally.

7 I know not why, NOR wherefore,] "Nor" was first added by Rowe.

What's best to ask.

Know'st him thou look'st on? speak;

Is he thy kin? thy friend?

Wilt have him live?
Imo. He is a Roman; no more kin to me,

Than I to your highness; who, being born your vassal,
Am something nearer.


Wherefore ey'st him so?

Imo. I'll tell you, sir, in private, if you please

To give me hearing.


Ay, with all my heart,

What's thy name?

And lend my best attention.

Imo. Fidele, sir.

I'll be thy master: walk with me; speak freely.

Thou art my good youth, my page;

[CYMBELINE and IMOGEN talk apart.

One sand another

Bel. Is not this boy reviv'd from death?
Not more resembles; that sweet rosy lad,
Who died, and was Fidele.-What think you?
Gui. The same dead thing alive.

Bel. Peace, peace! see farther; he eyes us not: forbear. Creatures may be alike: were't he, I am sure,

He would have spoke to us.


But we saw him dead.

Bel. Be silent; let's see farther.
Pis. [Aside.]

It is my mistress!

Since she is living, let the time run on,
To good, or bad.
Make thy demand

[CYMBELINE and IMOGEN come forward. Come, stand thou by our side:


aloud. -Sir, [To IACHIMO.] step you

Give answer to this boy, and do it freely,

Or, by our greatness, and the grace of it,

Which is our honour, bitter torture shall

Winnow the truth from falsehood.-On; speak to him.
Imo. My boon is, that this gentleman may render

Of whom he had this ring.

Post. [Aside.]

What's that to him?

Cym. That diamond upon your finger, say,

How came it your's?

Iach. Thou'lt torture me to leave unspoken that,

8 But we saw him dead.] The old printer was here guilty of the ordinary vulgarism of putting the present for the past tense, “we see him dead." Even Rowe continued it.

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