Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Cymbeline > Act II, scene IV


POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: Fear it not, sir: I would I were so sure
	To win the king as I am bold her honour
	Will remain hers.

PHILARIO:                   What means do you make to him?

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: Not any, but abide the change of time,
	Quake in the present winter's state and wish
	That warmer days would come: in these sear'd hopes,
	I barely gratify your love; they failing,
	I must die much your debtor.

PHILARIO: Your very goodness and your company
	O'erpays all I can do. By this, your king
	Hath heard of great Augustus: Caius Lucius
	Will do's commission throughly: and I think
	He'll grant the tribute, send the arrearages,
	Or look upon our Romans, whose remembrance
	Is yet fresh in their grief.

	Statist though I am none, nor like to be,
	That this will prove a war; and you shall hear
	The legions now in Gallia sooner landed
	In our not-fearing Britain than have tidings
	Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen
	Are men more order'd than when Julius Caesar
	Smiled at their lack of skill, but found
	their courage
	Worthy his frowning at: their discipline,
	Now mingled with their courages, will make known
	To their approvers they are people such
	That mend upon the world.

	[Enter IACHIMO]

PHILARIO: See! Iachimo!

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: The swiftest harts have posted you by land;
	And winds of all the comers kiss'd your sails,
	To make your vessel nimble.

PHILARIO: Welcome, sir.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: I hope the briefness of your answer made
	The speediness of your return.

IACHIMO: Your lady
	Is one of the fairest that I have look'd upon.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: And therewithal the best; or let her beauty
	Look through a casement to allure false hearts
	And be false with them.

IACHIMO: Here are letters for you.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: Their tenor good, I trust.

IACHIMO: 'Tis very like.

PHILARIO: Was Caius Lucius in the Britain court
	When you were there?

IACHIMO: He was expected then,
	But not approach'd.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: All is well yet.
	Sparkles this stone as it was wont? or is't not
	Too dull for your good wearing?

IACHIMO: If I had lost it,
	I should have lost the worth of it in gold.
	I'll make a journey twice as far, to enjoy
	A second night of such sweet shortness which
	Was mine in Britain, for the ring is won.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: The stone's too hard to come by.

IACHIMO: Not a whit,
	Your lady being so easy.

	Your loss your sport: I hope you know that we
	Must not continue friends.

IACHIMO: Good sir, we must,
	If you keep covenant. Had I not brought
	The knowledge of your mistress home, I grant
	We were to question further: but I now
	Profess myself the winner of her honour,
	Together with your ring; and not the wronger
	Of her or you, having proceeded but
	By both your wills.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: If you can make't apparent
	That you have tasted her in bed, my hand
	And ring is yours; if not, the foul opinion
	You had of her pure honour gains or loses
	Your sword or mine, or masterless leaves both
	To who shall find them.

IACHIMO: Sir, my circumstances,
	Being so near the truth as I will make them,
	Must first induce you to believe: whose strength
	I will confirm with oath; which, I doubt not,
	You'll give me leave to spare, when you shall find
	You need it not.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS:                   Proceed.

IACHIMO: First, her bedchamber,--
	Where, I confess, I slept not, but profess
	Had that was well worth watching--it was hang'd
	With tapesty of silk and silver; the story
	Proud Cleopatra, when she met her Roman,
	And Cydnus swell'd above the banks, or for
	The press of boats or pride: a piece of work
	So bravely done, so rich, that it did strive
	In workmanship and value; which I wonder'd
	Could be so rarely and exactly wrought,
	Since the true life on't was--

	And this you might have heard of here, by me,
	Or by some other.

IACHIMO: More particulars
	Must justify my knowledge.

	Or do your honour injury.

IACHIMO: The chimney
	Is south the chamber, and the chimney-piece
	Chaste Dian bathing: never saw I figures
	So likely to report themselves: the cutter
	Was as another nature, dumb; outwent her,
	Motion and breath left out.

	Which you might from relation likewise reap,
	Being, as it is, much spoke of.

IACHIMO: The roof o' the chamber
	With golden cherubins is fretted: her andirons--
	I had forgot them--were two winking Cupids
	Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely
	Depending on their brands.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: This is her honour!
	Let it be granted you have seen all this--and praise
	Be given to your remembrance--the description
	Of what is in her chamber nothing saves
	The wager you have laid.

IACHIMO: Then, if you can,

	[Showing the bracelet]

	Be pale: I beg but leave to air this jewel; see!
	And now 'tis up again: it must be married
	To that your diamond; I'll keep them.

	Once more let me behold it: is it that
	Which I left with her?

IACHIMO: Sir--I thank her--that:
	She stripp'd it from her arm; I see her yet;
	Her pretty action did outsell her gift,
	And yet enrich'd it too: she gave it me, and said
	She prized it once.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: May be she pluck'd it off
	To send it me.

IACHIMO: She writes so to you, doth she?

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: O, no, no, no! 'tis true. Here, take this too;

	[Gives the ring]

	It is a basilisk unto mine eye,
	Kills me to look on't. Let there be no honour
	Where there is beauty; truth, where semblance; love,
	Where there's another man: the vows of women
	Of no more bondage be, to where they are made,
	Than they are to their virtues; which is nothing.
	O, above measure false!

PHILARIO: Have patience, sir,
	And take your ring again; 'tis not yet won:
	It may be probable she lost it; or
	Who knows if one of her women, being corrupted,
	Hath stol'n it from her?

	And so, I hope, he came by't. Back my ring:
	Render to me some corporal sign about her,
	More evident than this; for this was stolen.

IACHIMO: By Jupiter, I had it from her arm.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: Hark you, he swears; by Jupiter he swears.
	'Tis true:--nay, keep the ring--'tis true: I am sure
	She would not lose it: her attendants are
	All sworn and honourable:--they induced to steal it!
	And by a stranger!--No, he hath enjoyed her:
	The cognizance of her incontinency
	Is this: she hath bought the name of whore
	thus dearly.
	There, take thy hire; and all the fiends of hell
	Divide themselves between you!

PHILARIO: Sir, be patient:
	This is not strong enough to be believed
	Of one persuaded well of--

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: Never talk on't;
	She hath been colted by him.

IACHIMO: If you seek
	For further satisfying, under her breast--
	Worthy the pressing--lies a mole, right proud
	Of that most delicate lodging: by my life,
	I kiss'd it; and it gave me present hunger
	To feed again, though full. You do remember
	This stain upon her?

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: Ay, and it doth confirm
	Another stain, as big as hell can hold,
	Were there no more but it.

IACHIMO: Will you hear more?

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: Spare your arithmetic: never count the turns;
	Once, and a million!

IACHIMO: I'll be sworn--

	If you will swear you have not done't, you lie;
	And I will kill thee, if thou dost deny
	Thou'st made me cuckold.

IACHIMO: I'll deny nothing.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS: O, that I had her here, to tear her limb-meal!
	I will go there and do't, i' the court, before
	Her father. I'll do something--


PHILARIO: Quite besides
	The government of patience! You have won:
	Let's follow him, and pervert the present wrath
	He hath against himself.

IACHIMO: With an my heart.



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