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ACT I SCENE V Britain. A room in Cymbeline's palace. 
 Enter QUEEN, Ladies, and CORNELIUS 
QUEEN Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those flowers; 
 Make haste: who has the note of them? 
First Lady I, madam. 
QUEEN Dispatch. 5
 Exeunt Ladies 
 Now, master doctor, have you brought those drugs? 
CORNELIUS Pleaseth your highness, ay: here they are, madam: 
 Presenting a small box 
 But I beseech your grace, without offence,-- 
 My conscience bids me ask--wherefore you have 
 Commanded of me those most poisonous compounds, 10
 Which are the movers of a languishing death; 
 But though slow, deadly? 
QUEEN I wonder, doctor, 
 Thou ask'st me such a question. Have I not been 
 Thy pupil long? Hast thou not learn'd me how 15
 To make perfumes? distil? preserve? yea, so 
 That our great king himself doth woo me oft 
 For my confections? Having thus far proceeded,-- 
 Unless thou think'st me devilish--is't not meet 
 That I did amplify my judgment in 20
 Other conclusions? I will try the forces 
 Of these thy compounds on such creatures as 
 We count not worth the hanging, but none human, 
 To try the vigour of them and apply 
 Allayments to their act, and by them gather 25
 Their several virtues and effects. 
CORNELIUS Your highness 
 Shall from this practise but make hard your heart: 
 Besides, the seeing these effects will be 
 Both noisome and infectious. 30
QUEEN O, content thee. 
 Enter PISANIO. 
 Here comes a flattering rascal; upon him 
 Will I first work: he's for his master, 
 An enemy to my son. How now, Pisanio! 
 Doctor, your service for this time is ended; 35
 Take your own way. 
CORNELIUS Aside I do suspect you, madam; 
 But you shall do no harm. 
QUEEN To PISANIO Hark thee, a word. 
CORNELIUS Aside I do not like her. She doth think she has 
 Strange lingering poisons: I do know her spirit, 
 And will not trust one of her malice with 
 A drug of such damn'd nature. Those she has 40
 Will stupefy and dull the sense awhile; 
 Which first, perchance, she'll prove on 
 cats and dogs, 
 Then afterward up higher: but there is 
 No danger in what show of death it makes, 45
 More than the locking-up the spirits a time, 
 To be more fresh, reviving. She is fool'd 
 With a most false effect; and I the truer, 
 So to be false with her. 
QUEEN No further service, doctor, 50
 Until I send for thee. 
CORNELIUS I humbly take my leave. 
QUEEN Weeps she still, say'st thou? Dost thou think in time 
 She will not quench and let instructions enter 
 Where folly now possesses? Do thou work: 55
 When thou shalt bring me word she loves my son, 
 I'll tell thee on the instant thou art then 
 As great as is thy master, greater, for 
 His fortunes all lie speechless and his name 
 Is at last gasp: return he cannot, nor 60
 Continue where he is: to shift his being 
 Is to exchange one misery with another, 
 And every day that comes comes to decay 
 A day's work in him. What shalt thou expect, 
 To be depender on a thing that leans, 65
 Who cannot be new built, nor has no friends, 
 So much as but to prop him? 
 The QUEEN drops the box: PISANIO takes it up. 
 Thou takest up 
 Thou know'st not what; but take it for thy labour: 
 It is a thing I made, which hath the king 70
 Five times redeem'd from death: I do not know 
 What is more cordial. Nay, I prethee, take it; 
 It is an earnest of a further good 
 That I mean to thee. Tell thy mistress how 
 The case stands with her; do't as from thyself. 75
 Think what a chance thou changest on, but think 
 Thou hast thy mistress still, to boot, my son, 
 Who shall take notice of thee: I'll move the king 
 To any shape of thy preferment such 
 As thou'lt desire; and then myself, I chiefly, 80
 That set thee on to this desert, am bound 
 To load thy merit richly. Call my women: 
 Think on my words. 
 A sly and constant knave, 
 Not to be shaked; the agent for his master 85
 And the remembrancer of her to hold 
 The hand-fast to her lord. I have given him that 
 Which, if he take, shall quite unpeople her 
 Of liegers for her sweet, and which she after, 
 Except she bend her humour, shall be assured 90
 To taste of too. 
 Re-enter PISANIO and Ladies. 
 So, so: well done, well done: 
 The violets, cowslips, and the primroses, 
 Bear to my closet. Fare thee well, Pisanio; 
 Think on my words. 95
 Exeunt QUEEN and Ladies. 
PISANIO And shall do: 
 But when to my good lord I prove untrue, 
 I'll choke myself: there's all I'll do for you. 

Cymbeline, Act 1, Scene 6


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