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ACT I SCENE VI The same. Another room in the palace. 
 Enter IMOGEN. 
IMOGEN A father cruel, and a step-dame false; 
 A foolish suitor to a wedded lady, 
 That hath her husband banish'd;--O, that husband! 
 My supreme crown of grief! and those repeated 5
 Vexations of it! Had I been thief-stol'n, 
 As my two brothers, happy! but most miserable 
 Is the desire that's glorious: blest be those, 
 How mean soe'er, that have their honest wills, 
 Which seasons comfort. Who may this be? Fie! 10
PISANIO Madam, a noble gentleman of Rome, 
 Comes from my lord with letters. 
IACHIMO Change you, madam? 
 The worthy Leonatus is in safety 
 And greets your highness dearly. 15
 Presents a letter. 
IMOGEN Thanks, good sir: 
 You're kindly welcome. 
IACHIMO Aside. All of her that is out of door most rich! 
 If she be furnish'd with a mind so rare, 
 She is alone the Arabian bird, and I 
 Have lost the wager. Boldness be my friend! 20
 Arm me, audacity, from head to foot! 
 Or, like the Parthian, I shall flying fight; 
 Rather directly fly. 
IMOGEN Reads. 'He is one of the noblest note, to whose 
 kindnesses I am most infinitely tied. Reflect upon 
 him accordingly, as you value your trust-- 25
 So far I read aloud: 
 But even the very middle of my heart 
 Is warm'd by the rest, and takes it thankfully. 
 You are as welcome, worthy sir, as I 30
 Have words to bid you, and shall find it so 
 In all that I can do. 
IACHIMO Thanks, fairest lady. 
 What, are men mad? Hath nature given them eyes 
 To see this vaulted arch, and the rich crop 35
 Of sea and land, which can distinguish 'twixt 
 The fiery orbs above and the twinn'd stones 
 Upon the number'd beach? and can we not 
 Partition make with spectacles so precious 
 'Twixt fair and foul? 40
IMOGEN What makes your admiration? 
IACHIMO It cannot be i' the eye, for apes and monkeys 
 'Twixt two such shes would chatter this way and 
 Contemn with mows the other; nor i' the judgment, 
 For idiots in this case of favour would 45
 Be wisely definite; nor i' the appetite; 
 Sluttery to such neat excellence opposed 
 Should make desire vomit emptiness, 
 Not so allured to feed. 
IMOGEN What is the matter, trow? 50
IACHIMO The cloyed will, 
 That satiate yet unsatisfied desire, that tub 
 Both fill'd and running, ravening first the lamb 
 Longs after for the garbage. 
IMOGEN What, dear sir, 55
 Thus raps you? Are you well? 
IACHIMO Thanks, madam; well. 
 Beseech you, sir, desire 
 My man's abode where I did leave him: he 
 Is strange and peevish. 60
PISANIO I was going, sir, 
 To give him welcome. 
IMOGEN Continues well my lord? His health, beseech you? 
IACHIMO Well, madam. 
IMOGEN Is he disposed to mirth? I hope he is. 65
IACHIMO Exceeding pleasant; none a stranger there 
 So merry and so gamesome: he is call'd 
 The Briton reveller. 
IMOGEN When he was here, 
 He did incline to sadness, and oft-times 70
 Not knowing why. 
IACHIMO I never saw him sad. 
 There is a Frenchman his companion, one 
 An eminent monsieur, that, it seems, much loves 
 A Gallian girl at home; he furnaces 75
 The thick sighs from him, whiles the jolly Briton-- 
 Your lord, I mean--laughs from's free lungs, cries 'O, 
 Can my sides hold, to think that man, who knows 
 By history, report, or his own proof, 
 What woman is, yea, what she cannot choose 80
 But must be, will his free hours languish for 
 Assured bondage?' 
IMOGEN Will my lord say so? 
IACHIMO Ay, madam, with his eyes in flood with laughter: 
 It is a recreation to be by 85
 And hear him mock the Frenchman. But, heavens know, 
 Some men are much to blame. 
IMOGEN Not he, I hope. 
IACHIMO Not he: but yet heaven's bounty towards him might 
 Be used more thankfully. In himself, 'tis much; 90
 In you, which I account his beyond all talents, 
 Whilst I am bound to wonder, I am bound 
 To pity too. 
IMOGEN What do you pity, sir? 
IACHIMO Two creatures heartily. 95
IMOGEN Am I one, sir? 
 You look on me: what wreck discern you in me 
 Deserves your pity? 
IACHIMO Lamentable! What, 
 To hide me from the radiant sun and solace 100
 I' the dungeon by a snuff? 
IMOGEN I pray you, sir, 
 Deliver with more openness your answers 
 To my demands. Why do you pity me? 
IACHIMO That others do-- 105
 I was about to say--enjoy your--But 
 It is an office of the gods to venge it, 
 Not mine to speak on 't. 
IMOGEN You do seem to know 
 Something of me, or what concerns me: pray you,-- 110
 Since doubling things go ill often hurts more 
 Than to be sure they do; for certainties 
 Either are past remedies, or, timely knowing, 
 The remedy then born--discover to me 
 What both you spur and stop. 115
IACHIMO Had I this cheek 
 To bathe my lips upon; this hand, whose touch, 
 Whose every touch, would force the feeler's soul 
 To the oath of loyalty; this object, which 
 Takes prisoner the wild motion of mine eye, 120
 Fixing it only here; should I, damn'd then, 
 Slaver with lips as common as the stairs 
 That mount the Capitol; join gripes with hands 
 Made hard with hourly falsehood--falsehood, as 
 With labour; then by-peeping in an eye 125
 Base and unlustrous as the smoky light 
 That's fed with stinking tallow; it were fit 
 That all the plagues of hell should at one time 
 Encounter such revolt. 
IMOGEN My lord, I fear, 130
 Has forgot Britain. 
IACHIMO And himself. Not I, 
 Inclined to this intelligence, pronounce 
 The beggary of his change; but 'tis your graces 
 That from pay mutest conscience to my tongue 135
 Charms this report out. 
IMOGEN Let me hear no more. 
IACHIMO O dearest soul! your cause doth strike my heart 
 With pity, that doth make me sick. A lady 
 So fair, and fasten'd to an empery, 140
 Would make the great'st king double,--to be partner'd 
 With tomboys hired with that self-exhibition 
 Which your own coffers yield! with diseased ventures 
 That play with all infirmities for gold 
 Which rottenness can lend nature! such boil'd stuff 145
 As well might poison poison! Be revenged; 
 Or she that bore you was no queen, and you 
 Recoil from your great stock. 
IMOGEN Revenged! 
 How should I be revenged? If this be true,-- 150
 As I have such a heart that both mine ears 
 Must not in haste abuse--if it be true, 
 How should I be revenged? 
IACHIMO Should he make me 
 Live, like Diana's priest, betwixt cold sheets, 155
 Whiles he is vaulting variable ramps, 
 In your despite, upon your purse? Revenge it. 
 I dedicate myself to your sweet pleasure, 
 More noble than that runagate to your bed, 
 And will continue fast to your affection, 160
 Still close as sure. 
IMOGEN What, ho, Pisanio! 
IACHIMO Let me my service tender on your lips. 
IMOGEN Away! I do condemn mine ears that have 
 So long attended thee. If thou wert honourable, 165
 Thou wouldst have told this tale for virtue, not 
 For such an end thou seek'st,--as base as strange. 
 Thou wrong'st a gentleman, who is as far 
 From thy report as thou from honour, and 
 Solicit'st here a lady that disdains 170
 Thee and the devil alike. What ho, Pisanio! 
 The king my father shall be made acquainted 
 Of thy assault: if he shall think it fit, 
 A saucy stranger in his court to mart 
 As in a Romish stew and to expound 175
 His beastly mind to us, he hath a court 
 He little cares for and a daughter who 
 He not respects at all. What, ho, Pisanio! 
IACHIMO O happy Leonatus! I may say 
 The credit that thy lady hath of thee 180
 Deserves thy trust, and thy most perfect goodness 
 Her assured credit. Blessed live you long! 
 A lady to the worthiest sir that ever 
 Country call'd his! and you his mistress, only 
 For the most worthiest fit! Give me your pardon. 185
 I have spoke this, to know if your affiance 
 Were deeply rooted; and shall make your lord, 
 That which he is, new o'er: and he is one 
 The truest manner'd; such a holy witch 
 That he enchants societies into him; 190
 Half all men's hearts are his. 
IMOGEN You make amends. 
IACHIMO He sits 'mongst men like a descended god: 
 He hath a kind of honour sets him off, 
 More than a mortal seeming. Be not angry, 195
 Most mighty princess, that I have adventured 
 To try your taking a false report; which hath 
 Honour'd with confirmation your great judgment 
 In the election of a sir so rare, 
 Which you know cannot err: the love I bear him 200
 Made me to fan you thus, but the gods made you, 
 Unlike all others, chaffless. Pray, your pardon. 
IMOGEN All's well, sir: take my power i' the court 
 for yours. 
IACHIMO My humble thanks. I had almost forgot 205
 To entreat your grace but in a small request, 
 And yet of moment to, for it concerns 
 Your lord; myself and other noble friends, 
 Are partners in the business. 
IMOGEN Pray, what is't? 210
IACHIMO Some dozen Romans of us and your lord-- 
 The best feather of our wing--have mingled sums 
 To buy a present for the emperor 
 Which I, the factor for the rest, have done 
 In France: 'tis plate of rare device, and jewels 215
 Of rich and exquisite form; their values great; 
 And I am something curious, being strange, 
 To have them in safe stowage: may it please you 
 To take them in protection? 
IMOGEN Willingly; 220
 And pawn mine honour for their safety: since 
 My lord hath interest in them, I will keep them 
 In my bedchamber. 
IACHIMO They are in a trunk, 
 Attended by my men: I will make bold 225
 To send them to you, only for this night; 
 I must aboard to-morrow. 
IMOGEN O, no, no. 
IACHIMO Yes, I beseech; or I shall short my word 
 By lengthening my return. From Gallia 230
 I cross'd the seas on purpose and on promise 
 To see your grace. 
IMOGEN I thank you for your pains: 
 But not away to-morrow! 
IACHIMO O, I must, madam: 235
 Therefore I shall beseech you, if you please 
 To greet your lord with writing, do't to-night: 
 I have outstood my time; which is material 
 To the tender of our present. 
IMOGEN I will write. 240
 Send your trunk to me; it shall safe be kept, 
 And truly yielded you. You're very welcome. 

Cymbeline, Act 2, Scene 1


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