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Which, to be spoke, would torture thee.


How! me?

Iach. I am glad to be constrain'd to utter that, which

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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 liv'd

"Twixt sky and ground. Wilt thou hear more, my lord?

Cym. All that belongs to this.


That paragon, thy daughter,

For whom my heart drops blood, and my false spirits

Quail to remember,-Give me leave; I faint.

Cym. My 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.
Iach. Upon a time, (unhappy was the clock
That struck the hour) it was in Rome, (accurs'd
The mansion where) 'twas at a feast, (oh! would
Our viands had been poison'd, or at least

Those which I heav'd 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
Amongst the rar'st 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 1o,
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 :-


Come to the matter.


I stand on fire.

9 Torments me to conceal.] We may be confident that the word "which," before "Torments," made its way into the text by corruption: it is not required for meaning or measure: the poet must have written,

"I am glad to be constrain'd to utter that

Torments me to conceal."

A most usual poetical elision, but we have no warrant to omit "which."


straight-PIGHT Minerva,] "Pight" is pitched or fixed. See Vol. iv. p. 594, and Vol. v. p. 649: “straight-pight" therefore seems to mean, standing upright in a fixed posture, and with this sense the compound epithet has great appropriateness to Minerva. "Brief nature," in the next line, means brieflyworking nature-nature hasty in her composition of mere human beings.

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Unless thou wouldst 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 prais'd, (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 crack'd of kitchen trulls, or his description
Prov'd us unspeaking sots.


Nay, nay, to the purpose.

Iach. 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 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 his bed, and win this ring
By her's 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
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 villainous. Being thus quench'd
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 prevail'd,
That I return'd with simular proof, enough
To make the noble Leonatus mad,

By wounding his belief in her renown

And would so, had it been a carbuncle

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Of Phoebus' wheel;] In "Antony and Cleopatra," A. iv. sc. 8 (this Vol. p. 220), we read of the carbuncles "in Phoebus' holy car," which, in the corr. fo. 1632, is Phoebus' glowing car," but we have continued the original epithet in our text. It is singular that Mr. Singer, very appositely quoting the passage in "Antony and Cleopatra," as a note here to "Cymbeline," omits both "holy " and glowing, merely giving "Like Phoebus' car." Perhaps he did not approve of "holy" (though he inserts it elsewhere), and could not make up his mind to print glowing, as it stands in the corr. fo. 1632.

With tokens thus, and thus; averring notes
Of chamber-hanging, pictures, this her bracelet,
(Oh cunning, how I got it!) nay, some marks
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,-


Ay, so thou dost,

Italian fiend!-Ah me! most credulous fool,
Egregious murderer, thief, any thing

[Coming forward.

That's due to all the villains past, in being,
To come!-Oh, 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 kill'd thy daughter:-villain-like, I lie;
That caus'd 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 call'd, Posthumus Leonatus, and

Be villainy less than 'twas!-Oh Imogen!
My queen, my life, my wife! Oh Imogen,
Imogen, Imogen!


Peace, my lord! hear, hear '!

Post. Shall's have a play of this ?—Thou scornful page, There lie thy part.


[Striking her she falls3.

Oh, gentlemen! help,

Mine, and your mistress.-Oh, my lord Posthumus!
You ne'er kill'd Imogen till now.-Help, help!-
Mine honour'd lady!


Does the world go round?

Post. How come these staggers on me?

2 (Oh cunning, how I got IT!)] "It," required by the sense and metre, was added in the folio, 1632; and, of course, in the two later folios.

3 Some upright JUSTICER!] The commentators have various notes and quotations upon "justicer" to show that it was an antiquated word;" as if it had not been already used by Shakespeare three, if not four, times in "King Lear." HEAR, HEAR!] It may perhaps be doubted whether Imogen does not mean here, here! intending to avow herself to Posthumus.


Striking her she falls.] This stage-direction was first inserted by Rowe.


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. Oh! get thee from my sight;

Thou gav'st me poison: dangerous fellow, hence!

Breathe not where princes are.


Pis. Lady,

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 poison'd me.

Oh 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 a cordial, she is serv'd
As I would serve a rat.

What's this, Cornelius ?
Cor. The queen, sir, very oft importun'd 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.


My boys,

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.


Till the tree die!

[Embracing him.

Hang there like fruit, my soul,

6 TO TEMPER poisons for her;] To "temper" does not here mean merely to prepare or compound poisons, but to render them of the peculiar strength the queen might require.


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.


Bel. Though you did love this youth, I blame ye not;

You had a motive for't.


Prove holy water on thee!

Thy mother's dead.



My tears that fall


I am sorry for't, my lord.

Cym. Oh! 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 troth.

Upon my lady's missing, came to me

My lord,

Lord Cloten,

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,

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 inforc'd from me, away he posts
With unchaste purpose, and with oath to violate
My lady's honour: what became of him,

I farther know not.


I slew him there.


Let me end the story:

Marry, the gods forefend!

I would not thy good deeds should from my lips
Pluck a hard sentence: pr'ythee, valiant youth,

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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

7 What! mak'st thou me a DULLARD in this act?] i. e. Do you treat me in this business as if I were a dolt (perhaps the same word as "dullard ")

-a person

without sense or interest?


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