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ACT III SCENE IV Country near Milford-Haven. 
IMOGEN Thou told'st me, when we came from horse, the place 
 Was near at hand: ne'er long'd my mother so 
 To see me first, as I have now. Pisanio! man! 
 Where is Posthumus? What is in thy mind, 5
 That makes thee stare thus? Wherefore breaks that sigh 
 From the inward of thee? One, but painted thus, 
 Would be interpreted a thing perplex'd 
 Beyond self-explication: put thyself 
 Into a havior of less fear, ere wildness 10
 Vanquish my staider senses. What's the matter? 
 Why tender'st thou that paper to me, with 
 A look untender? If't be summer news, 
 Smile to't before; if winterly, thou need'st 
 But keep that countenance still. My husband's hand! 15
 That drug-damn'd 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. 
PISANIO Please you, read; 20
 And you shall find me, wretched man, a thing 
 The most disdain'd of fortune. 
 strumpet in my bed; the testimonies whereof lie 
 bleeding in me. I speak not out of weak surmises, 
 but from proof as strong as my grief and as certain 25
 as I 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 opportunity at 
 Milford-Haven. She hath my letter for the purpose 30
 where, if thou fear to strike and to make me certain 
 it is done, thou art the pandar to her dishonour and 
 equally to me disloyal.' 
PISANIO What shall I need to draw my sword? the paper 
 Hath cut her throat already. No, 'tis slander, 35
 Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue 
 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 40
 This viperous slander enters. What cheer, madam? 
IMOGEN 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, 45
 To break it with a fearful dream of him 
 And cry myself awake? that's false to's bed, is it? 
PISANIO Alas, good lady! 
IMOGEN I false! Thy conscience witness: Iachimo, 
 Thou didst accuse him of incontinency; 50
 Thou then look'dst like a villain; now methinks 
 Thy favour's good enough. Some jay of Italy 
 Whose mother was her painting, hath betray'd him: 
 Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion; 
 And, for I am richer than to hang by the walls, 55
 I must be ripp'd:--to pieces with me!--O, 
 Men's vows are women's traitors! All good seeming, 
 By thy revolt, O husband, shall be thought 
 Put on for villany; not born where't grows, 
 But worn a bait for ladies. 60
PISANIO Good madam, hear me. 
IMOGEN True honest men being heard, like false Aeneas, 
 Were in his time thought false, and Sinon's weeping 
 Did scandal many a holy tear, took pity 
 From most true wretchedness: so thou, Posthumus, 65
 Wilt lay the leaven on all proper men; 
 Goodly and gallant shall be false and perjured 
 From thy great fall. Come, fellow, be thou honest: 
 Do thou thy master's bidding: when thou see'st him, 
 A little witness my obedience: look! 70
 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 75
 Thou mayst be valiant in a better cause; 
 But now thou seem'st a coward. 
PISANIO Hence, vile instrument! 
 Thou shalt not damn my hand. 
IMOGEN Why, I must die; 80
 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; 85
 Obedient as the scabbard. What is here? 

The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus,

 All turn'd to heresy? Away, away, 
 Corrupters of my faith! you shall no more 
 Be stomachers to my heart. Thus may poor fools 90
 Believe false teachers: though those that 
 are betray'd 
 Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor 
 Stands in worse case of woe. 
 And thou, Posthumus, thou that didst set up 95
 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 
 A strain of rareness: and I grieve myself 100
 To think, when thou shalt be disedged by her 
 That now thou tirest on, how thy memory 
 Will then be pang'd by me. Prithee, dispatch: 
 The lamb entreats the butcher: where's thy knife? 
 Thou art too slow to do thy master's bidding, 105
 When I desire it too. 
PISANIO O gracious lady, 
 Since I received command to do this business 
 I have not slept one wink. 
IMOGEN Do't, and to bed then. 110
PISANIO I'll wake mine eye-balls blind first. 
IMOGEN Wherefore then 
 Didst undertake it? Why hast thou abused 
 So many miles with a pretence? this place? 
 Mine action and thine own? our horses' labour? 115
 The time inviting thee? the perturb'd court, 
 For my being absent? whereunto I never 
 Purpose return. Why hast thou gone so far, 
 To be unbent when thou hast ta'en thy stand, 
 The elected deer before thee? 120
PISANIO But to win time 
 To lose so bad employment; in the which 
 I have consider'd of a course. Good lady, 
 Hear me with patience. 
IMOGEN Talk thy tongue weary; speak 125
 I have heard I am a strumpet; and mine ear 
 Therein false struck, can take no greater wound, 
 Nor tent to bottom that. But speak. 
PISANIO Then, madam, 
 I thought you would not back again. 130
IMOGEN Most like; 
 Bringing me here to kill me. 
PISANIO Not so, neither: 
 But if I were as wise as honest, then 
 My purpose would prove well. It cannot be 135
 But that my master is abused: 
 Some villain, ay, and singular in his art. 
 Hath done you both this cursed injury. 
IMOGEN Some Roman courtezan. 
PISANIO No, on my life. 140
 I'll give but notice you are dead and send him 
 Some bloody sign of it; for 'tis commanded 
 I should do so: you shall be miss'd at court, 
 And that will well confirm it. 
IMOGEN Why good fellow, 145
 What shall I do the where? where bide? how live? 
 Or in my life what comfort, when I am 
 Dead to my husband? 
PISANIO If you'll back to the court-- 
IMOGEN No court, no father; nor no more ado 150
 With that harsh, noble, simple nothing, 
 That Cloten, whose love-suit hath been to me 
 As fearful as a siege. 
PISANIO If not at court, 
 Then not in Britain must you bide. 155
IMOGEN Where then 
 Hath Britain all the sun that shines? Day, night, 
 Are they not but in Britain? I' the world's volume 
 Our Britain seems as of it, but not in 't; 
 In a great pool a swan's nest: prithee, think 160
 There's livers out of Britain. 
PISANIO I am most glad 
 You think of other place. The ambassador, 
 Lucius the Roman, comes to Milford-Haven 
 To-morrow: now, if you could wear a mind 165
 Dark as your fortune is, and but disguise 
 That which, to appear itself, must not yet be 
 But by self-danger, you should tread a course 
 Pretty and full of view; yea, haply, near 
 The residence of Posthumus; so nigh at least 170
 That though his actions were not visible, yet 
 Report should render him hourly to your ear 
 As truly as he moves. 
IMOGEN O, for such means! 
 Though peril to my modesty, not death on't, 175
 I would adventure. 
PISANIO Well, then, here's the point: 
 You must forget to be a woman; change 
 Command into obedience: fear and niceness-- 
 The handmaids of all women, or, more truly, 180
 Woman its pretty self--into a waggish courage: 
 Ready in gibes, quick-answer'd, saucy and 
 As quarrelous as the weasel; nay, you must 
 Forget that rarest treasure of your cheek, 
 Exposing it--but, O, the harder heart! 185
 Alack, no remedy!--to the greedy touch 
 Of common-kissing Titan, and forget 
 Your laboursome and dainty trims, wherein 
 You made great Juno angry. 
IMOGEN Nay, be brief 190
 I see into thy end, and am almost 
 A man already. 
PISANIO First, make yourself but like one. 
 Fore-thinking this, I have already fit-- 
 'Tis in my cloak-bag--doublet, hat, hose, all 195
 That answer to them: would you in their serving, 
 And with what imitation you can borrow 
 From youth of such a season, 'fore noble Lucius 
 Present yourself, desire his service, tell him 
 wherein you're happy,--which you'll make him know, 200
 If that his head have ear in music,--doubtless 
 With joy he will embrace you, for he's honourable 
 And doubling that, most holy. Your means abroad, 
 You have me, rich; and I will never fail 
 Beginning nor supplyment. 205
IMOGEN Thou art all the comfort 
 The gods will diet me with. Prithee, away: 
 There's more to be consider'd; but we'll even 
 All that good time will give us: this attempt 
 I am soldier to, and will abide it with 210
 A prince's courage. Away, I prithee. 
PISANIO Well, madam, we must take a short farewell, 
 Lest, being miss'd, I be suspected of 
 Your carriage from the court. My noble mistress, 
 Here is a box; I had it from the queen: 215
 What's in't is precious; if you are sick at sea, 
 Or stomach-qualm'd at land, a dram of this 
 Will drive away distemper. To some shade, 
 And fit you to your manhood. May the gods 
 Direct you to the best! 220
IMOGEN Amen: I thank thee. 
 Exeunt, severally. 

Cymbeline, Act 3, Scene 5


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