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Please see the bottom of the page for explanatory notes.

ACT I SCENE III A room in Cymbeline's palace. 
IMOGEN I would thou grew'st unto the shores o' the haven, 
 And question'dst every sail: if he should write 
 And not have it, 'twere a paper lost, 
 As offer'd mercy is. What was the last
 That he spake to thee? 
PISANIO It was, "His queen, his queen!" 
IMOGEN Then waved his handkerchief? 
PISANIO And kiss'd it, madam.

IMOGEN Senseless Linen! happier therein than I!
 And that was all? 
PISANIO No, madam; for so long 
 As he could make me with this eye or ear 
 Distinguish him from others, he did keep 10
 The deck, with glove, or hat, or handkerchief,
 Still waving, as the fits and stirs of's mind 
 Could best express how slow his soul sail'd on, 
 How swift his ship. 
IMOGEN Thou shouldst have made him 
 As little as a crow, or less, ere left
 To after-eye him. 
PISANIO Madam, so I did. 
IMOGEN I would have broke mine eye-strings; crack'd them, but 
 To look upon him, till the diminution 
 Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle,
 Nay, follow'd him, till he had melted from 20
 The smallness of a gnat to air, and then 
 Have turn'd mine eye and wept. But, good Pisanio, 
 When shall we hear from him? 
PISANIO Be assured, madam, 30
 With his next vantage. 
IMOGEN I did not take my leave of him, but had 
 Most pretty things to say: ere I could tell him 
 How I would think on him at certain hours 
 Such thoughts and such, or I could make him swear
 The shes of Italy should not betray 
 Mine interest and his honour, or have charged him, 30
 At the sixth hour of morn, at noon, at midnight, 
 To encounter me with orisons, for then 
 I am in heaven for him; or ere I could
 Give him that parting kiss which I had set 
 Betwixt two charming words, comes in my father 
 And like the tyrannous breathing of the north 
 Shakes all our buds from growing. 
 Enter a Lady. 
Lady The queen, madam,
 Desires your highness' company. 
IMOGEN Those things I bid you do, get them dispatch'd. 
 I will attend the queen. 
PISANIO Madam, I shall. 
 [ Exeunt.  

Cymbeline, Act 1, Scene 4


Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 3
From Cymbeline. A.W. Verity. Cambridge, University Press.


3, 4. "The loss of that paper would prove as fatal to her, as the loss of a pardon to a condemned criminal" -- Steevens.

9, 10. this; emphasised by the gesture of pointing; the Folios have his, due probably to he (twice) and him, occurring in the two lines.

24. With his next vantage, at the earliest opportunity.

29. shes, women; cf. I. 6. 39, and As You Like It, III. 2. 9, 10:

"Run, run, Orlando; carve on every tree
The fair, the chaste and unexpressive she."
So he = 'man,' e.g. in Romeo and Juliet, V. 1. 66, 67:
"Such mortal drugs I have; but Mantua's law
Is death to any he that utters them."
32. encounter me, meet me reciprocally.

33. I am in heaven for him; "my solicitations ascend to heaven on his behalf" -- Steevens.

35. charming, which should act like a charm, i.e. in protecting him, e.g. 'fare well!'

How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Cymbeline. Ed. A.W. Verity. Cambridge, University Press, 1899. Shakespeare Online. 10 Dec. 2013. < >.

How to cite the sidebar:
Mabillard, Amanda. Notes on Shakespeare. Shakespeare Online. 10 Dec. 2013. < >.

More to Explore

 Cymbeline: The Play with Commentary
 Cymbeline Plot Summary
 Famous Quotations from Cymbeline
 How to pronounce the names in Cymbeline
 Sources for Cymbeline

 Introduction to Imogen
 Introduction to Guiderius and Arviragus
 Introduction to Cloten
 Introduction to Cymbeline
 Introduction to Posthumus
 Introduction to Iachimo

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